Brunswick County Man Celebrates National Donate Life Month With His New Kidney | Old North State Wealth News
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Brunswick County man celebrates National Donate Life Month with his new kidney



SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — April is National Donate Life Month. On Tuesday, WWAY caught up with a Shallotte man who recently received his life saving donation. 

“I will say there’s times where I was going to give up, but I couldn’t. I’ve got two beautiful daughters, family who loves me, and I want to go back to work one day,” kidney transplant recipient, Sal Rubio, said. 

Sal Rubio was a well-known chef in Brunswick County at what was formerly known as The Grille on Main St. in Shallotte. 

In 2017, Sal was diagnosed with kidney disease. His health took a turn for the worse which prevented him from keeping his restaurant’s doors open.  

The wait began for a kidney donor. 

“It’s hard to remain vigilant and stay positive. You kinda just got to think, I dealt with it in a different way, I felt like everyday was just another day that I scratched off,” Sal said. 

He remained hopeful and 14 surgeries and 7 years later, he finally got his kidney transplant in January 2024. 

Sal said he relied a lot on support from his daughter Jena. She was only 13 years old when her father’s health battle began.  

Jena said she had to step up and be his caretaker. 

“I’d always pack his wound at home whenever he’d have to change the tube out for PD. Then, when he got the transplant, I was driving him there and I was missing work,” Jena Rubio said. “My biggest inspiration is my dad.” 

Jena even started a GoFundMe page for her father to relieve the financial hurt Sal’s kidney disease caused. 

Sal still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. But he said he is doing great and looking forward to getting back into the kitchen to do what he loves best. 

“My labs look great, and everything hopefully is gonna get to where maybe in a month I’ll be back to normal or start getting back to normal. Start doing what I want to do,” Sal said. 

Sal encouraged anyone who is awaiting a transplant to remain hopeful. He said because it’s well worth the wait. 

Sal said he even has a birthday party coming up to celebrate his new kidney. It’s organized by friends of his that he’d cater often at Sea Trail Resort. There will be a prime rib dinner and silent auction held to help with what hospital bill’s Sal has left. 

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