Last December, three Wilton High School students made a video to help beloved school counselor, Mr. Dann Pompa, in his search for a kidney donor match.
Pompa has been a WHS school counselor for the past 17 years, but even longer (since 2000), Pompa has suffered from membranous glomerulonephritis, or MGN, a kidney disease that developed as a complication from an infection after surgery to repair a fractured leg. With irreparable kidney damage, Pompa has been looking for a donor since last January but had not found a match within his circle of family and friends.
As Pompa’s need for a transplant became more and more urgent, WHS senior Jake Arnowitz and juniors Eli Ackerman and Tyler Casey decided to help by creating a video to generate more awareness of the donor search.
That video proved to be the key to finding a match. Among the many people who watched and responded was Wilton resident Dave Cote. After he watched the video, Cote called the Yale transplant center. He underwent a series of tests, evaluations and meetings with doctors, and ultimately, Cote was approved to be a donor for Pompa.
An avid cyclist before his kidney disease forced him off the bike, Pompa had told Cote of his dream to ride again once he was healthy enough to get on a bicycle. As luck would have it, Cote used to work for Cannondale, the Wilton-based bicycle designer and manufacturer.
Cote got in touch with his former Cannondale colleague and friend, Kevin Kane, and asked if there was anything they could do to make Pompa’s dream a reality.
Kane not only jumped at the idea but he then reached out to another Wilton business, Outdoor Sports Center. Owner Will Maxwell immediately agreed to get involved and make the gift even better.
They all got together and met at Wilton High School after the end of the school day last Friday–Pompa’s last day at work before the transplant surgery scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 20. That’s when they surprised Pompa with a gift of a different sort.
GOOD Morning Wilton was on hand not only to capture what unfolded but also to make a surprise presentation of our own.