Assistant trainer Carlos Santamaria received a life-saving kidney transplant on Monday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to a report on Cincinatti's Fox 19. The long-time employee of Simon Callaghan has worked with this year's Kentucky Oaks hopeful Bellfina, as well as Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Donna Veloce.
Earlier this year, Santamaria met up with Mulligans, a Louisville-based volunteer organization that supports kidney-failure patients who are seeking live kidney donors.
Mulligans used national ads seeking a donor during the Kentucky Derby, but it was one of Santamaria's friends, Suzanne Levenda, who wound up being a perfect match.
“Thanks is not enough,” Santamaria said. “You know, for me, like I told her, now she's part of my family. I'm part of her family.”
“Carlos is doing very well today!” his fiancee Palmer Pedigo posted on Facebook on Wednesday. “His minor setback from the anesthesia yesterday has subsided and he's been up walking and sitting in his chair most the afternoon. He did well with his liquid diet earlier and now is enjoying some real food!! His kidney is still doing great and has brought his blood numbers back to nearly normal! He's making a LOT of urine and the doctors are very happy with its function and how strong it is!! Suzy Lilly-Levenda his wonderful donor has broken free and left the hospital this morning and is relaxing at an AirBnB locally! We are beyond thankful for Suzy's gift of life to us.. As well as for all the calls/messages/texts from all of our family/friends near and far!!!”
Read more at Fox 19.
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