Written by Gayle Starling Melvin
Keith and Kristin Quatrale are scheduled for kidney transplants this fall. Photo courtesy of Quatrale family
Keith and Kristin Quatrale, members of the Congregational Church of Patchogue, N.Y., share the special bond of being brother and sister. However, they also share a common bond that has brought them even closer together, closer to their family and closer to their faith. They both suffer from a genetic disease known as familial juvenile nephronophthisis.
Attacking the kidneys, nephronophthisis soon plays havoc on the body, creating the need for dialysis. Fortunately, they will not have to wait long for a kidney transplant. Their parents, Paul and Janice Quatrale, are ideal matches and operations are scheduled for this fall.
Throughout this whole ordeal, the Quatrale family has had the overwhelming support of their church and the Patchogue community. On Sunday, Nov. 12, the church, an active member of the UCC's Suffolk Association, is sponsoring the "Keith and Kristin Benefit Brunch," a chance for the family to receive assistance with the astronomical medical bills that will accrue.
Nan Cozine, co-chairperson of the benefit, is quick to point out that while Keith, 11, and Kristin, 9, await their transplants, they insist upon leading productive lives. "Keith is an acolyte in our church," she says. "Both children are very active in the church and participate every Sunday they can."
Janice Quatrale is extremely proud of her children. "Despite their situation, they have never complained and they have successfully managed to keep up with their school work," she says. Both children maintain excellent grades and have not fallen behind in school.
Their pastor, the Rev. Diane L. Prosser, is impressed with how everyone reaches out to Keith and Kristin. "The whole church, together with the wider community, has been wonderful," she says. "This is not an isolated cause. We are working hand in hand to help these children and it's heartwarming to see the response."