QUINCY, Mass. — When a new father from Quincy read that his college buddy’s next-door neighbor in Brookline was ill and in desperate need of a kidney, he did what few people would even consider.
He volunteered to be tested to see if he was a match, our news partners at the Patriot Ledger reported.
Ben Johnston, a 32-year-old songwriting student at Berklee College of Music, decided he would donate a major organ to a total stranger.
The man who needed the kidney was Dr. Ferenc “Frank” Jolesz, 67, who was suffering from kidney failure for the second time. His daughter Marta Jolesz donated a kidney to him about seven years earlier.
“There’s a huge shortage of available organs and people are dying every day” Marta Jolesz, 37, said. “The average person is on the waiting list for five to 10 years. Most people don’t have that kind of time. My dad didn’t have that kind of time.”
The Brookline TAB profiled Jolesz and his efforts to find a donor via a website and Facebook last August.
“If the TAB wouldn’t have run the article, I wouldn’t have found out about it,” Johnston said.
“Basically, when I first read about it, I thought, ‘Oh, he’ll have no problem finding a donor,’” Johnston said. “Then, I thought if this person was my father or my father-in-law or someone I cared about, and he didn’t find a donor, I’d probably be angry.”
The idea got lodged in his mind and didn’t go away, and Johnston said he’s not sure why.
“I even waited a few days to tell (my wife),” said Johnston. “I thought it would go away, and it didn’t.”
Johnston’s wife, Heidi, is the pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church in Quincy. She had just started a new job and given birth to the couple’s son, Oliver, two months before. She was not enthusiastic about her husband undergoing a major elective surgery, so she spent about a week contemplating the decision, spiritually.
“Every week I stand up in the pulpit and ask people to step outside their comfort zone and care for people in need,” Heidi Johnston said. “I thought, ‘This is the opportunity that we’ve been given to do that,’ and I thought I should support Ben.”
Ben Johnston did some research and learned that most donors are back on their feet in a couple of months. Also, the hospital staff emphasized that he was free to change his mind at any stage of the testing, which took about two months.
Ben Johnston is composing a song about his organ-donation experience. This is the first verse of what is tentatively titled “Goodbye, Dear Kidney.”
After a third of a century, you up
and left me
Jumped right in to some other man
All my scars are still healing, and
I’ve got the feeling
I won’t be seeing you again
You left a hole deep within in me,
and I’m just beginning
To fill up the space the best that I can
And though sometimes I miss you,
the truth is I wish you
A long happy life with him
So goodbye, goodbye dear kidney
If I start to cry, if my tears don’t dry, forgive me
It’s hard to let you go, but in my heart I know
You’re better off without me
So goodbye, goodbye dear kidney
Heidi said she was with the Jolesz family while Ben and Frank were in the operating room, which was a great comfort. Ben’s surgery went very quickly.
“The kidney started perfusing (taking in blood) instantly,” said Heidi. “We were hugging and crying at Brigham and Women’s. That was incredible. That certainly bonds you. The daughters were in Ben’s hospital (room) rubbing his head and feet.
Jolesz wasn’t able to do a face-to-face interview because of the drugs he is taking to suppress his immune system, but he wrote in an email that he’s feeling much better.
“Ben gave me the gift of life, something that I almost lost,” Jolesz wrote. “Words are not enough to express my gratitude for Ben and Heidi’s selfless act of helping me. My hope is that what they did for me will motivate others to help those in need.”
Ben served two tours of duty in Iraq when he was an officer in the Army. His job was building bridges and other kinds of road construction. He said that he felt ambivalent about his work and the war in general, but donating a kidney was something he’d do again if he could.
It’s now just over two months after the operation and Ben said that except for the occasional pain at the incision, “I’m pretty much back to normal, and to me, that’s such a small amount of time to give someone a new lease on life. I would do it again.
“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. Heidi made me a scrapbook for Christmas, and I get emotional looking at the pictures and reading what his daughters wrote.”
Everybody interviewed for this story said that they hope it encourages more people to donate kidneys.
“Everything aligned for Ben and he was able to give the gift of life to my father and help our family,” said Marta Jolesz. “This journey has been truly unbelievable, and we feel so fortunate to find not only a donor, but a donor like Ben and his family.”
WELLESLEY, Mass. — A remarkably lifelike sculpture of a man sleepwalking in nothing but his underpants has made some Wellesley College students a bit uncomfortable, but the president of the prestigious women’s school says that’s all part of the intellectual process.
The sculpture entitled “Sleepwalker” of a man in an eyes-closed, zombie-like trance is part of an exhibit by sculptor Tony Matelli at the college’s Davis Museum. It was placed at a busy area of campus on Monday, a few days before the official opening of the exhibit, and prompted an online student petition to have it removed.
The sculpture is a “source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault” for many, according to the petition, which had nearly 300 signees on Wednesday.
The petition started by junior Zoe Magid called on President H. Kim Bottomly to have the artwork removed.
That appeared unlikely, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday by Bottomly and museum Director Lisa Fischman.
“The very best works of art have the power to stimulate deeply personal emotions and to provoke unexpected new ideas, and this sculpture is no exception,” the statement said. The sculpture “has started an impassioned conversation about art, gender, sexuality and individual experience, both on campus and on social media.”
The sculpture was placed outdoors specifically to get a reaction and to connect the indoor exhibition with the world beyond, Fischman said.
“I love the idea of art escaping the museum and muddling the line between what we expect to be inside (art) and what we expect to be outside (life),” she wrote.
Reaction from the campus community was mixed.
Freshman Bridget Schreiner told The Boston Globe she was “freaked out” the first time she saw the sculpture, thinking for a moment that a real, nearly naked man was lingering on campus.
“This could be a trigger for students who have experienced sexual assault,” she said.
Others were more understanding.
“I find it disturbing, but in a good way,” English professor Sarah Wall-Randell said. “I think it’s meant to be off-putting. It’s a schlumpy guy in underpants in an all-women environment.”
The exhibit opens Thursday and closes July 20.
By Felina S. Robinson
Tony Matelli’s Sleepwalker, is part of an art exhibit at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum.
You also have to think about the fact that people get arrested every day for indecent exposure for showing a lot less. What does it say about an educational institution that both condones and supports such art. I’m more than concerned that one of Wellesley’s own English professors, Sarah Wall-Randell, had the following to say “I find it disturbing, but in a good way.” “I think it’s meant to be off-putting – it’s a schlumpy guy in underpants in an all-women environment.” This shows such a lack of respect to all those that have been sexually assaulted and/or abused. None of us have any idea how this could potentially affect such victims or trigger their memories. All for a glimpse, a laugh, or just to make an artistic statement.
I support Zoe Magid, a Wellesley College junior majoring in political science, who started a petition on Change.org asking college president H. Kim Bottomly to have the statue removed. I have every intention of signing that petition myself and encourage others to do so as well.
Davis Museum director Lisa Fischman wrote on Wellesley College’s official website that the sculpture was meant to evoke response as stated by By Jaclyn Reiss, Boston.com Staff in her article “Realistic statue of man in his underwear at Wellesley College sparks controversy“.
Art is a beautiful thing and it’s wonderful that we are all able to enjoy artistic freedom, but with like everything else in the world, there are limits to what we do, when we do it, where we do it and how we do it. It isn’t necessary to make others feel so incommodious.
Estate of Huguette M. Clark, courtesy of Christie’s
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Femme à l’ombrelle,” or “Woman with Umbrella,” from the collection of Huguette Clark is expected to fetch $3 million to $5 million at a sale in May in New York. The Clark collection is touring London, Asia and New York for public viewing. The woman with the parasol in the 1873 painting may be Camille Monet, the wife of the painter Claude Monet.
By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter, NBC News
Huguette Clark was 24 when she purchased this work from Claude Monet’s series of “Nymphéas,” or “Water Lilies,” in 1930 in New York. This 1907 painting remained out of the public eye until now. It is estimated by Christie’s to bring $25 million to $35 million at auction on May 6, after it is available for viewing in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York.
NEW YORK — Masterpieces from the art collection of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, hidden away like their owner for nearly a century, begin a world tour on Friday, stopping in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York. Christie’s will auction the works in May and June.
First, on May 6, four Impressionist paintings will be sold at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center, including a Monet from his “Water Lilies” series with an estimated value of $25 million to $35 million. This Monet has not been seen in public since the copper heiress bought it in 1930. Her three paintings by Renoir will also be sold: “Girls Playing Battledore and Shuttlecock,” “Chrysanthemums,” and “Woman with Umbrella.” Together the Renoir trio is estimated to be worth $16.5 million to $25.5 million.
Here are the tour dates for public viewing: London, Jan. 30 through Feb. 4; Hong Kong, April 4-9; Tokyo, April 10-12; and in New York selected items will be on view later in April (exact dates not set). All the Impressionist and Modern art work will be on view May 2-6. All other items will be on view from June 14-17. A catalogue of the collection will be printed this spring.
Renoir’s “Girls Playing Battledore and Shuttlecock” has a pre-sale estimated value of $10 million to $15 million. Huguette Clark paid $125,000 for it in the late 1950s. From about 1887, this large work is one of Renoir’s most prized, showing five women in a rural landscape.
Huguette Clark on a ship with her father, W.A. Clark, the copper miner and former senator, in the 1910s. The familiy held tickets on the return trip of the Titanic in 1912, though as Huguette explained some 80 years later, “We took another boat.”
Huguette (pronounced “oo-GET”) Marcelle Clark was the youngest child of former U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark (1839-1925), one of the copper kings of Montana, a railroad builder, founder of Las Vegas, and one of the richest men of the Gilded Age. Huguette, born in Paris in 1906, was a painter and doll collector who spent her last 20 years living in simple hospital rooms. She attracted the attention of NBC News in 2009 because her fabulous homes in Connecticut, California and New York sat unoccupied but carefully maintained. (See all the stories in the NBC series.)
After Clark died in 2011 at age 104, nineteen relatives challenged her last will and testament, which had cut them out of her $300 million copper fortune. The relatives claimed that she was mentally ill and had been defrauded by her nurse, attorney and accountant. No one was charged with any crime after an investigation by the district attorney’s office, but enough questions were raised that the case was settled in September 2013 just after jury selection began. The relatives, who last saw her in 1957 and most of whom never met Clark, will receive $34.5 million. Lawsuits continue as the relatives hope to receive more money from Clark’s hospital and doctor. The proceeds from the scheduled sales at Christie’s will go back into the estate for distribution under that settlement. (Read asummary of the deal here.)
Though Clark kept much of her art collection under wraps, along with the rest of her life, she was a persistent supporter of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and lent works to it periodically, including two paintings by Sargent and one of the Renoirs. Most of the art collected by her father went to the Corcoran after his death in 1925, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York turned it down.
Not for sale are paintings made by Clark herself. Those will go to a new Bellosguardo Foundation for the arts, to be set up at her summer estate in Santa Barbara, Calif. The foundation received her oceanfront property by that name, worth at least $85 million. With only about $5 million in cash — an exact amount still to be determined — the foundation will have to choose a mission and figure out how to fund it. It could become a public museum, or the house could be sold to fund the foundation’s charitable efforts. The board members will be appointed, probably by this summer, by the New York attorney general; most will be nominated by the mayor of Santa Barbara.
Clark’s jewelry collection was sold at Christie’s in 2012, bringing $18 million to provide cash to keep her estate running during the dispute. Her three apartments on Fifth Avenue sold for a total of $54.8 million. Her Connecticut home, unoccupied since she bought it in 1951, remains on the marketat $15.9 million.
Bill Dedman is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.” The co-author is Paul Clark Newell Jr., Huguette Clark’s cousin, who was not involved in the legal contest for her estate.
Paintings made by the shy artist Huguette Clark will not be sold at auction, but will go to the new Bellosguardo Foundation for the arts, at her California home. This self-portrait is from the late 1920s.
Today I was reading about all of the amazing artists we were blessed with over time. Please read this article and view a collection of some of the outstanding work created over time. Enjoy! http://totallyhistory.com/art-history/famous-artists/
From the Italian Renaissance Artists
Twenty-five year-old Dallas W.R. Looman an Autistic Artist of Colrain, MA will have his art displayed at the Smithsonian Center as a professional artist. Read his story here – http://www.wcvb.com/news/local/autistic-massachusetts-artist-headed-to-smithsonian-center/-/9848876/21946014/-/cgvmdoz/-/index.html?absolute=true
This story truly warms my heart as a mother of an autistic teenager. I always worry about whether she will meet her dreams of which she has many. I hope that she is able to realize as many of them as possible. It goes without saying that I have that same hope for all of my children and anyone else with dreams or aspirations.