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  • Writer's pictureJaime Wuillermin

Schaffer donates kidney to save her father

Hammonton resident Tami Schaffer and Jamie Hiltwine’s father, Art Schaffer, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Failure five years ago.

“We knew it was only a matter of time that he [Art Schaffer] would need a kidney or he would be put on dialysis,” Hiltwine said.

With a change of diet, he was able to keep his kidney level steady for a few years, but eventually his levels dropped. He was going to need daily dialysis which according to Jamie is a long process that often leaves you feeling tired and awful.

“My mom and dad were adamant that they did not want any of their three children to donate,” she said.

All three of Art’s children have families and work full-time jobs. Art Schaffer’s wife, Beverly Schaffer, was tested and unfortunately, she was not a match and was put on a kidney swap list.

However, with Art’s blood type being O negative, the chances of a swap working out were very slim and could take years, according to the kidney swap program. Art Schaffer was eventually put on dialysis. Each evening, he would be hooked up to a machine.

“This process left my dad tired and feeling crappy,” Hiltwine said.

Tami Schaffer made a decision over her parents’ wishes in order to improve her father’s quality of life and ultimately save him. Schaffer is a mother of two, a full-time math teacher at Hammonton High School and flag football coach, as well as a bartender in the evening.

Schaffer decided to go through with the long testing process, regardless of the risk, and with full knowledge that this could be a six-to-eight-week recovery. Tami was indeed a match and selflessly donated her kidney to her father on Nov. 28.

“Tami and Art are both recovering, sore and tired but healing,” Hiltwine said.

Tami Schaffer is eager to get back to being constantly on the go and back to watching her favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in person. Art Schaffer cannot wait to get back into his hunting stand. Throughout the process, the family had the chance to meet a number of donors and receptions.

“Yes, it is a major surgery but the risks are very low and the recovery time is nothing compared to the selfless action of saving a life. Please take the time to consider donating your spare kidney,” Hiltwine said.

For more information on becoming a living donor, visit the National Kidney Association’s website at


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