Gaithersburg handyman gives family the ‘gift of life’

Craftsman donates life-saving kidney

A Montgomery County family says this Gaithersburg man is definitely their craftsman of the year.

You can definitely call him “Craftsman of the Year”. One Gaithersburg family says a friend and someone who usually does odd jobs for them around the house gave the Montgomery County family the gift of life.

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“I just burst into tears. I go like, ‘Oh my god.’ I mean, it’s like saying, “Who are you?” And it’s kind of like that, wow, “said Mary Antonelli, describing her reaction last October when her husband called her to hear what her 62- year old craftsman Daniel Reynolds had just told him.

What Reynolds told 75-year-old Tony Antonelli was that he would give him his kidney.

Reynolds, who told FOX 5 that he believed he was moving the grass for the Antonelli, was friends with the Gaithersburg family, who did a variety of house-related chores for them.

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It was October 2020 when Reynolds noticed after finishing a job that the 75-year-old was not handsome. When Reynolds asked if Antonelli was okay, he said Antonelli replied no – he had to start dialysis because his kidneys were failing.

Mary Antonelli said to FOX 5: “… and Dan said: Well, what blood type are you? Tony told him. He said:” Well this is my blood type! I would be honored to give you my kidney. Which number do I call? “That. Just like that.”

Mary Antonelli told FOX 5 that the family hadn’t even asked for a kidney donor or even started looking.

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“I said let’s get the ball rolling and see if it works and we’ll take it from there. One day at a time,” Reynolds humbly replied in an interview with Monday Zoom.

The Antonelli family told FOX 5 that Reynolds made it through this pandemic when many people are still scared of even going outside.

Incredibly grateful the family set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for Reynolds as he is unable to work while he is recovering.

The kidney transplant took place last Tuesday, February 23, at George Washington University Hospital, according to Mary Antonelli. Reynolds is out of the hospital and is being looked after by his daughter.

Antonelli tells FOX 5 that her husband is expected to be released on Tuesday.

Antonelli also told FOX 5 that she knows what the recovery period will look like after surgery. Four years ago, on Valentine’s Day, Antonelli said she gave her husband a kidney. Mary Antonelli said it worked for about three years, but then the kidney started to scar and the doctors didn’t know why.

“I said, Dan, I don’t even know – I don’t know how to thank you again. And he said, ‘I would do it for him over 100 times.’ We just want this man to feel good, “Mary Antonelli told FOX 5.

She says the couple also have 13 grandchildren, ages 15 to one year old, calling this a gift of life for whole family, friends, and beyond.

When asked why he decided to donate his kidney, Reynolds called Antonelli and a great man and spoke of their friendship. Reynolds also shared part of his story, telling FOX 5 that he had served in the military for over 20 years – after which he went through more difficult times of loss, divorce, and homelessness. He also spoke of his appreciation for those who helped him through these difficult times.

“I want everyone to understand that we can help each other in immense ways, you know. I know we’d all have better lives if we just got along,” said Dan Reynolds.

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