There are almost 10,000 people in New York State in need of an organ.

Believe it or not, a human only needs one of their two kidneys. Even harder to believe is that the surgery to get one removed is minimally invasive, and could help a person in need -including one of your neighbors.

Transplant surgery isn't just for people on Grey's Anatomy, or infomercials. A person in your neighborhood, on your street, right next door could be in need - and you could help.

Take Michael Sirianni, of Gates. Sirianni has amyledosis, which causes the buildup of amyloid proteins in the organs. The disease has taken affect on Sirianni's kidneys and heart, and needs a transplant of both.

It's caused a lot of weight gain, and it's hard for Sirianni to get around by himself. He used to play soccer and coach at local high schools. He used to be a representative at a local liquor store, but had to quit when the workload became too much for him. Now, he's excited when he can just get out of the house to go to the grocery store.

"I’m looking forward to getting outside more. Functioning again. Being able to walk around and do stuff with the kids," Sirianni said. "My daily routine is get the mail, maybe go outside for a little while, sit down out front, basically just sitting outside in front."

Not only is there a physical toll, but a financial one. So far, Sirianni and his family have spent a quarter of a million dollars on treatments - just since January of this year. The family is asking for donations through Michael's GoFundMe account just to try to keep from being buried by medical bills. You can go to to donate.

Sirianni lives with his wife, Debbie and his daughter, Erica. He enjoys spending time with them, and is also looking forward to the wedding of his daughter, Kerrie, who lives in Ohio. It's his hope that he'll be able to walk her down the aisle and dance with her at her wedding in June 2019.

But for now, Sirianni sits, and waits, and hopes for a kidney and a heart.

"I never thought I’d be a donor for anything. My mindset has already changed," Sirianni said. "We need people to donate their body parts."

But it can be hard to get an organ donor. There's many misconceptions going around that it's hard to separate the fact versus the fiction.

It's also an unfortunate reality that organ donation falls low on many's list of priorities.

Ask Janice Giovannini, of Spencerport. She has polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disease which causes cysts to grow on her kidneys and spread to her other organs. When she was put on the kidney transplant list, she put out a note on Facebook, asking if people would consider even getting tested to see if they were a match for her. Her post got 39 shares.

"I didn’t think I would get anything at all. I was impressed with that, until [my daughter] Jamie had a cockatiel, and gave it to a friend and it got out one night and it was posted on Facebook. It got 400 shares and I said, 'Huh. That’s where people’s priorities are.' So that kind of hurt," Giovannini said.

Due to the fact that PKD is genetic, Giovannini's daughter, Kristy, isn't eligible to donate a kidney, since she has the disease, as well. Jamie has never gotten tested, but in the event she is healthy, Janice told her, "I'd rather you save your kidney for Kristy, in case she ever needs a transplant."

Her husband, John, has to be cancer-free for five years before he can possibly donate - four and a half more years to go.

There's no real treatment for PKD, either. Giovannini is put on an ace inhibitor to keep her blood pressure stable, but that's about it. Back in July, a medication came out that was found to slow down the growth of the cysts, but it comes at the hefty price tag of $40,000 per month.

"I was on the phone for hours between the pharmaceutical company and the insurance company, going back and forth," Giovannini said. "There’s medication now that can slow the progression of the cysts, meaning it would put off the need to have a transplant, but they won’t let me do it."

Every few years, as well, her doctors can do what is called "deep cortication," which is where they go in laproscopically and drain as many cysts as they can - they can't be removed, because they've become part of her kidney.

Because of her PKD, Giovannini has water weight in her stomach and legs, as well as shifted organs (due to the cysts) that cause discomfort. So just like Sirianni, all she can do is wait.

"It is really important that people be more educated about how many people are out there needing organs,” Giovannini said. "It would be great if people would sign up to be organ donors. Everyone has two, but you only need one. It’s done laproscopically now - recovery is less than two weeks, and it’s all paid for by my insurance."

To register to become an organ donor, visit or visit your local DMV.

To see if you're eligible to help Sirianni, call (585) 442-5320. To see if you're eligible to help Giovannini, call (585) 275-7753.

By the numbers
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS):

60: Almost 60 percent of needed transplants are for kidneys.
9,421: There are currently 9,421 people in New York State alone waiting for organs.
7,000: More than 7,000 candidates died in 2016 while on the wait list, or within 30 days of leaving the list for personal or medical reasons, without receiving an organ transplant.
114,459: That’s the number of people who need a lifesaving organ transplant (total waiting list candidates). Of those, 74,714 people are active waiting list candidates.

United Network for Organ Sharing,