Renown Nurse Donates Kidney to Stranger to Save Son’s Life


Unable to find a kidney donor for her 8-year-old son, longtime Renown employee Jennifer Dado, RN, donates her own kidney to a stranger so her son could receive a match of his own. Jennifer and her husband Nhil Dado, also a Renown employee, share their journey.

A Community Rallies for One of its Own

A mother’s love, a young boy’s fighting spirit and a community’s unwavering support. Together, they tell the amazing story of 8-year-old Zack Dado.

Born to Renown employees Jennifer and Nhil Dado, newborn Zack was bleeding at birth and needed to breathe again. His kidneys never recovered from the distress. The couple were able to lean on their Renown co-workers for support as Zack’s condition got worse.

In October 2014, when Zack’s kidneys were close to failing, his parents began looking for a kidney donor match. Zack was put on a regional and national registry, which includes transplant donations from Renown Health’s donor network.

Unable to find a match among family and friends, Zack’s mom, Jennifer Dado, RN and supervisor of clinical nursing, decided to donate her kidney as part of a kidney paired donation. This is an option for patients who have a living donor, but  they are not a match for their kidney.

“You don’t know what you are doing and what a gift it means until you are doing it,” Jennifer says. “Knowing you can actually give somebody the gift of life, and being able to see it and knowing you are helping someone out, is amazing.”

Support for Becoming a Kidney Donor

Close friends and others held a fundraiser last summer – “Zack Attack,” helping pay for living and other expenses during Zack and Jennifer’s kidney surgery at UC Davis Medical Center on Sept. 14, 2015.

Jennifer says separating from Zack during the surgeries was difficult. But she was grateful  Zack’s father, Supervisor of Facility Services Nhil Dado, could be at their son’s side.

“From the day that Zack was born we received overwhelming support. Just to see the community come through for us is amazing,” Jennifer says.