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A friendship parade of support

Suzanne Carriola Fox prior to surgery. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — Linda Conroy has known Suzanne Carriola Fox since about 1970 when Conroy’s ex-husband and Suzanne’s husband worked together at local radio stations.

“We’ve been good friends many years. We think of each other as sisters,” Conroy said.

So when Fox’s kidneys failed, Conroy was justifiably concerned for her friend.

To show support for her friend, now in recovery after a kidney transplant, Conroy organized a drive-by parade of friends, many from her church, the Mayfield Presbyterian Church. After church ended on Sunday, parishioners filed down to the Fox residence on Route 29 to show their support.

Conroy phoned ahead to Fox to say she was leaving a non-contact gift on her front lawn so that Fox could see the parade of support as a surprise.

Linda Conroy readies her gift prior to the parade of support. (The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen)

“Our friendship has had a couple of bumps in the road when we had little contact because of transfers of long distance jobs in different states and also Canada, but we remained close since then. We have a lot in common each being only children and the same nationality,” Conroy said.

“Suzanne married David Fox in 1971. They have two beautiful daughters and two beautiful grand daughters. Suzanne developed kidney failure and was in stage 4 kidney failure doing dialysis at home for approximately 8 to 11 hours every night.”

Fox was told she wasn’t eligible for a kidney transplant because of her age. Conroy said that was devastating to her. She also learned her two daughters were not candidates for kidney donation. But then an opportunity came about.

“I as a close friend was willing to be tested for a kidney donation, but with God’s grace [she] received a kidney in September 2020 [through an organ bank] during the COVID-19 [pandemic]. She was called and had to be at Albany Medical Center Hospital, Albany, New York immediately for a kidney transplant.”

Conroy said it was a 5 to 6 hour surgery and Fox had to be in the hospital for 6 to 7 days, After being released from the hospital she had to take many anti-rejection drugs and drink 64 ounces of water a day, During this time she had to stay clear from her daughters, grand daughters and the public–spending many holidays away from family. Her only contact was with her husband David Fox her caregiver.

Many prayers where said for her by her husband David, her family, her friends, and especially her church family at Mayfield Presbyterian Church with Pastor Bonnie Orth. She has to follow a daily routine and get plenty of rest, eat proper food and have blood work done very often and make many trips back and forth to AMCH.

Pastor Bonnie Orth said Fox has been a faithful member of her church a long time and she knows Fox misses in-person gatherings, but attends the on-line Bible studies Orth leads.

“Even in these times of the Covid pandemic, there are blessings,” Orth said. “You just have to look for them and we are continually reaching out.”

Conroy said Fox was diligent to follow the rules perfectly to a “T” so as not to have a rejection.

“By the grace of God she is closing in on her one-year anniversary date which makes her a little more out of the woods. She thanks God, the kidney donation, her husband, her church family, and many friends very much for their continued support and prayers. She is our hometown hero and [we] wish her many years of a good and a fulfilled life in Johnstown, New York, her hometown.”

Conroy went on to say, “We love her and can’t express enough how we are grateful to have her healthy and have her in our lives. Hold your loved ones close to your heart and continue to pray for this world that is in turmoil now for calm and loving people, doctors and clergy. This is like a fairy tale story with an excellent ending. Glad Bless everyone.”

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