Jeff Kalage

January 9, 2023

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Retired NYPD officer receives ‘Easter miracle’ through organ donation

For retired NYPD officer Jeff Kalage, one selfless organ donor saved his life.

In April 2017, the Jim Thorpe resident contracted Hepatitis A, which is typically a treatable condition.

“Unfortunately, there is a 1% in 50,000 cases that for some reason do not respond to treatment,” Kalage said, describing his own situation.

Kalage’s health quickly spiraled downward, with his liver failing, followed by his kidneys. On one particular Saturday, doctors said he wouldn’t make it past Monday without a liver transplant.

“There was nothing they could do for me, because the toxins were building up,” Kalage said.

That Saturday night, he got the call.

“They got word from West Virginia that, unfortunately, a 23-year-old gentleman passed away and he was a perfect match,” Kalage said.

Thanks to an organ donor named Jacob, Kalage got a new liver the next day, Easter Sunday. He calls it his Easter miracle.

“There’s so much gratitude to Jacob and so many out there that are registered donors,” Kalage said.

More than five years later, Kalage is still enjoying life. By getting to know Jacob’s family, he has learned more about the man who gave him the gift of life. And Jacob’s heart also saved the life of another man.

“The father, Paul, told me that New Year’s Eve four months prior to his passing he became a brand-new father,” Kalage said.

Most of all, Kalage hopes his story will inspire more people to be an organ donor — like Jacob.

“One donor could potentially help dozens of people,” he said.