Local man surprisingly meets organ donor’s mother

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — A local man received an early Christmas gift of unmeasurable value Saturday night when he met his kidney donor’s mother, who traveled all the way from California to surprise him. 

Gary Ferrell, also known locally as “Bear,” was in desperate need of a kidney. According to the GoFundMe page to raise money for his transplant, Gary was on the donor waiting list for more than a year. That was in 2015. 

In the fall of 2017, Bear finally received his new kidney. However, it took the tragic death of a 37-year-old man to provide the vital organ. 

According to Fox8 news, Stephanie Ruscigno of California, a disabled Army veteran, visited New Orleans to attend a convention of disabled vets this past August. 

During the visit, her 37-year-old son, Jason, was struck by a speeding car, according to Fox8. He died 16 days later, succumbing to injuries. 

Ferrell received a kidney after Jason’s organs were harvested.

This past weekend, thanks to the efforts of Holiday Smiles Organization and Scott Sullivan of Portsmouth, Stephanie Ruscigno flew out to meet Bear and his family. 

The organization and family held a private party Saturday evening at the Seaconnet Sportsman’s Club in Portsmouth. Ferrell was told it was a Christmas party, never knowing about his surprise visitor. 

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