Praying for the Gift of Life: Queens Parishioner Seeks Kidney Donor

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Organ, Organ Donation, Queens, NY

By Katie Vasquez

Petar Vukelich is trying to keep his spirits up even though he’s facing a severe health issue. 

He isn’t a stranger to sickness. For 25 years, Petar has been diabetic, but things took a turn in January of 2023 when he passed out at work and learned his kidney was functioning at 10 percent. Doctors gave him three options.   

“One was to get a kidney transplant. Two is to go on dialysis, or three was to do nothing and die.”

Now, he’s hoping for a living donor. 

“It’s a better quality kidney, and it lasts a lot longer. So that’s what we’re looking to find.”

He’s not alone. According to Northwell Health, 100,000 people in the US are on the waitlist for a kidney, and it can take 3-5 years before they get one. 

His wife got tested, hoping to save her husband’s life.

“I wind up getting rejected, which was also devastating. It was really hard to hear,” said Petar’s wife, Elaine Vukelich. 

Petar’s family and friends are all praying for a donor.

“Very painful. Very painful. And I have a lot a lot of people, all that pray for him,” said Petar’s mother, Maria Vukelich. 

One of his longtime friends, Mike Reddington, has been handing out this flyer to local churches, hoping to find someone who might be a match.

“We know there’s a donor out there, and we know the Lord is going to find one for him, you know, whether it’s the Lord using him in this way to kind of grow the faith,” said Reddington. 

Petar knows that asking for a donor is a huge sacrifice but he hopes even spreading the word about organ donation can help. 

“No one would expect everybody to line up to do that, but you can share my story. You can get the word out, and,” said Vulkelich, “you know, my donors out there, and they will come.”

Until then, he will hold out hope for a miracle. 

If you would like to learn how you can help, contact KIDNEY4PETEVUKE@GMAIL.COM.

If you want to learn more about kidney transplants and how to help or become a living donor to save a life, you can visit the National Kidney Foundation website at