Tag Archives: Miracle

Complete stranger donates kidney to Bayside man

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Doctors had written him off, and the small glimmer of hope Dennis Goldstein was holding on to was slowly slipping away.

But the Bayside man is alive and kicking now after a complete stranger across the country saw him in a dream and saved his life.

“If somebody ever tells you miracles don’t happen, don’t believe them,” said Goldstein, 73, who battled severe heart and kidney failure for years. “If I don’t believe in miracles now, I’m out of my mind.”

Goldstein, a retired business owner, is continuing to recover from surgery at his Bay Club apartment after receiving a live kidney from Kathleen Knackstedt, a complete stranger from California, close to seven weeks ago.

The pair had never met, but a spiritual Knackstedt said she had a dream that she was on her knees, extending her kidney out to Goldstein, the night before she first saw his face in a photograph at her close friend Marvin’s home. Marvin, Goldstein’s cousin, then connected the two and began the transplant process across the miles.

“I kept saying in the dream, ‘I offer you my kidney. Please take my kidney.’ I didn’t realize what the dream I meant until the next day,” said Knackstedt, a 59-year-old assistant principal on the West Coast. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I was never afraid. I never worried about it. It was something I knew I had to do.”

Goldstein has suffered from heart problems for 20 years, which led to a heart attack and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure five years ago. Medications ruined his kidneys, he said, and in August 2011, doctors took him off the donor list.

“They said I would drop dead on the table,” Goldstein said. “But I was determined to go through that.”

Goldstein’s willpower convinced doctors not to give up on him — even though the ailing, wheelchair-ridden man was physically turning gray and losing his ability to speak. In September 2011, he was put back on the long waiting list, only to later go through two failed donor matches.

“I always had hope, but it was getting further and further away,” Goldstein said.

But then this March, he heard from Knackstedt, who turned out to be a perfect match. The two — who now consider each other family — went under the knife on August 21 and are both healthy and recovering.

“There’s quantity in life and there’s quality,” Knackstedt said. “There’s a difference between walking through it and embracing it to the fullest. Life is just so precious.”

Goldstein, acknowledging his luck and reaffirming his faith, thanked Knackstedt for the greatest act of kindness he ever received.

“My life is a hell of a lot better,” he said. “I feel like God gave me a gift and I’m going to take advantage of it. It’s amazing to me to have this freedom again.”

His wife, Carole, said Knackstedt restored both of their dreams, enabling them to live life fully and even start planning to take trips across the world again.

“If someone would tell me this story, I wouldn’t believe it,” she said. “None of us believed in miracles before this.”

Motorist dies of apparent suicide while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Motorist dies of apparent suicide while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge

A 36-year-old man killed himself with a shot to the head while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge on Monday night, police said. The man was heading northbound from Queens toward the Bronx in a 1999 Chevy Silverado when he took his own life just before he arrived at the tollbooth, cops said. After the driver pulled the trigger at 7:11 p.m., police said, the man’s silver pickup truck slammed into another car and then careened into a tollbooth entrance. Read More: Daily News

‘Junk-justice radar’ on high alert in Queens district attorney’s office conviction of Tejpal Singh

This is last week and two court officers lead convicted murderer Tejpal Singh into the Queens courtroom of the Honorable Michael B. Aloise, a courtroom jammed with Sikh men in turbans. They uncuff him at the defense table. Aloise oddly stands through loud arguments from high-powered defense attorney Stephen G. Murphy, who charges that in Singh’s case, the Queens district attorney’s office has convicted yet another in a parade of innocent people. Read More: Daily News

Sex suspect takes plunge

A depraved sicko nearly plunged to his death from a fourth-floor window after sexually attacking a young woman in her Queens apartment building, police sources said yesterday. Gustavo Avila, 20, was listed in critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital following Wednesday’s incident on 83rd Street in Jackson Heights, sources said. Read More: New York Post

Long Island man arrested in killing of young mom and her 2-year-old son

A Long Island man has been arrested for killing his one-time love interest and her 2-year-old son, whose little body was found in a freezer, police said. Jerry Lewis, 24, repeatedly stabbed Shakeela Planter, 21, on the morning of December 18 inside the North Bay Shore apartment they had been sharing, police said. Lewis did not spare Planter’s son, Jaiden Planter, police said. He beat the toddler, stuffed his body into a plastic bag and stashed him in his mother’s freezer, police said. Read More: Daily News

Miracle survivors

A Queens family of six driving upstate for the holidays “miraculously” survived a frightening accident that sent their SUV tumbling off the highway and launched the youngest of the clan out of the car. Although his entire family was hospitalized after the early-morning wreck yesterday near the town of Bethlehem, 42-year-old dad Eli Rowe sounded grateful that things didn’t turn out worse. He said their 2010 Mercedes veered off the rain-soaked New York Thruway and flipped over multiple times as they were headed from Flushing to Lake George for a family getaway. Read More: New York Post

Shoppers take it all back

With Christmas finally over, throngs of sale-crazy shoppers flocked to stores across New York yesterday in hopes of correcting Kris Kringle’s little mistakes and ringing in 2012 with huge savings. “It’s crazy how chaotic it is,” said Alex, a 27-year-old college student who was exchanging a $230 sweater for a $200 button-down shirt at Saks Fifth Avenue. He declined to give his last name in an apparent bid to spare the gift giver’s feelings. The Saks sale — in which many posh items at the high-end store were slashed up to 70 percent — led to “lots of pushing and shoving,” said one witness. Read More: New York Post

‘Double-dater’ teacher

Gerard Cassidy, a physical-education instructor at a Queens middle school, was caught in a love triangle and fired for having an “inappropriate relationship” with an ex-student — while dating her mom, The Post has learned. Cassidy, 44, who taught at MS 137 America’s School of Heroes in Ozone Park, lost a fight for his $83,600-a-year job even though the 16-year-old student recanted her claim that she had sex with the teacher, according to city Department of Education documents and court records. The age of consent in New York is 17. Cassidy denied any wrongdoing. Read More: New York Post

Comptroller: Last Year’s Christmas Blizzard Cost City About $2M In Settlements

The city is still paying the price for its sluggish response to the major blizzard from exactly one year ago, in the form of liability claims. The City Comptroller’s office says it has paid out nearly $2 million in liability claims so far, and there may be more to come. The biggest settlement so far was $150,000 for a man who fell in an icy parking lot that was not shoveled properly by the city. Another $100,000 thousand went to a Brooklyn cemetery where headstones were damaged by a falling fence after snow had been dumped against it. Read More: NY1

Felonies Sharply Increase This Year In The Rockaways

Even as police report that crime rates remain mostly flat around the city, statistics show felonies have spiked in parts of the Rockaways section of Queens. Burglaries in the 100th precinct, covering Broad Channel, Breezy Point and Belle Harbor, are up 144 percent this year. Felony assaults have jumped 66 percent, robberies are up 31 percent and grand larcenies 26 percent over last year. Residents in Belle Harbor who spoke with NY1 said they are aware of the increased crime in the area, but generally still feel safe. Read More: NY1

Elmhurst Fire Sends Two To The Hospital

Investigators say two people were hurt when a fire broke out inside the Martinique Plaza residential complex in Elmhurst on Sunday morning. The two victims were taken to Elmhurst Hospital, and two others with minor injuries were evaluated at the scene. The fire started on the second floor of the building, but firefighters put it out before it spread to other floors. Read More: NY1

Radio’s Lynn Samuels dies at 69

Lynn Samuels, longtime doyenne of New York’s talk-radio airwaves, died of a heart attack over the weekend. She was 69. An unabashed liberal, Samuels mixed searing political commentary with humor, sarcasm and at times profane observations about living in the Big Apple, attracting a loyal following over more than three decades on the air. Broadcast on SiriusXM satellite radio from her Woodside apartment, her distinctive voice — raspy with elongated vowels — instantly established her as a native New Yorker. Read More: New York Post