New York Daily News

December 23, 2010


Retired cop who plays Santa for families of fallen officers now in need of kidney transplant




  Angelo Grande, a staffer for the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, plays Santa each year. He now needs a kidney transplant.

A retired city cop who plays Santa for the families of fallen police officers is in desperate need of a holiday gift: a new kidney.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is campaigning to find a transplant donor for Angelo Grande, a PBA staffer who brings Christmas cheer to NYPD officers' widows and children at holiday parties.

"Despite his illness, Angelo Grande's sunny disposition has never faded," said PBA President Patrick Lynch.

"He has spent his entire career as a police officer and a PBA employee caring for others. Now he is in need of a Christmas miracle."

Grande, 65, has polycystic kidney disease and undergoes 4-1/2 hours of renal dialysis three days a week.

"Is it taking its toll on me? Yes," said the East Meadow, L.I., resident.

"I've been able to get by, but every year gets a little bit harder. I try not to dwell on it."

The 19-year NYPD veteran started as a beat cop in the South Bronx, and spent a decade in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

He began working at the PBA in 2001 and has served as its Santa ever since. In his regular day job, he's a disability counselor who helps police officers injured in the line of duty.

"Working keeps me involved, so I don't just sit around worrying about myself," said Grande, who's been married for 45 years.

Over the 4-1/2 years he has been on dialysis, he came close to getting a kidney transplant twice.

Both times, the plans fell though at the last minute.

"It's time he gets a break," said Pat Deflorio, a transplant coordinator at North Shore University Hospital Kidney Transplant Center in Manhasset, L.I.

Potential donors need to have type O blood. For information, can call the transplant center's main number, (516) 472-5800, and ask for Deflorio.

Donating a kidney requires surgery with four to six weeks of recovery time. Healthy adults only need one kidney.

"It's a commitment," Deflorio said. "But in the end, they'll feel very good about what they did."