WHS Students Assist Beloved Counselor in Search of Living Donor Match

By all accounts, Daniel (Dann) Pompa is one of the most beloved members of the Wilton High School community.

A WHS school counselor for the past 17 years, Pompa also teaches a peer leadership class, and is involved in numerous clubs and activities at the school, including the St. Baldrick’s Foundation club, PeerVention, Socks for Soldiers, Bon Ami, and others.

In addition, Pompa is widely known for his support of veterans. Just this past October, Pompa received the Connecticut American Legion’s Americanism Award, the highest award the Legion gives to a civilian.

Pompa has suffered from membranous glomerulonephritis, or MGN, since 2000. This kidney disease 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 has not found a match within his circle of family and friends.

Upon learning of Pompa’s condition and search for a donor match, three WHS students decided to help.

WHS seniorJake Arnowitz and juniors Eli Ackerman and Tyler Casey created a video that has been shared on social media and Youtube. The 11-minute video includes heartfelt testimonials from several students and staff about Pompa’s significance to the community, explains Pompa’s illness, and provides details on the process of identifying a match.

Casey and Ackerman spoke with GMW about the idea for the video. Though they considered other ways of showing their support for Pompa, the decided the video was the right idea. “He’s a very humble guy, ” said Casey. “He would never ask for help.” Ackerman added that trust and honesty were important to Pompa, and it was in that spirit that Pompa discussed his circumstances with them.

In addition to raising awareness of the donor search and ultimately finding a donor, Casey said there was one more goal for the video: “We were hoping that by making this video, it would just enlighten all the kids at the high school who haven’t had the opportunity to interact with him yet to realize what a great and helpful person we have there.”

Casey and Ackerman wrote the script for the video, organized the participants, gathered the photographs to include, and recorded the narration. Arnowitz took the lead on the video editing and production.

Prospective donors can be easily screened for compatibility, with medical history information, blood type and other simple tests. (Pompa has blood type O negative.) Care is provided by Yale New Haven Hospital, at no expense to the donor, and with lifetime monitoring by Yale. Donors may remain anonymous, if they wish.

For more information, contact the Yale New Haven Transplantation Center by phone (866-925-3897) or online.

This video was shared by the creators with permission from Mr. Pompa and the Wilton High School administration.