ToquiNotes: Josh Gervais Battles through Transplant of Kidney with Donation Assist from Brother Michael

By Jeff Toquinto on November 18, 2023 from ToquiNotes via

When you think of Josh Gervais and his older brother Michael Gervais, there is a good chance the thought process takes you to the golf course. And for good reason.
Afterall, it is hard to find too many brothers as closely associated with one thing in one community, and in the positive way, as the Gervais brothers and the game of golf. As you read this, however, there is something that binds them together more than any golf course and even the blood they share.
At this moment, both Josh Gervais and Mike Gervais are patients at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They were not in an accident, but the timing was planned even if the situation that led them there was not.
On Thursday, Josh Gervais underwent kidney transplant surgery at UPMC. His brother Michael is there with him because he donated one of his kidneys to his younger brother.
“I’m very proud of Michael that he thought enough to go get tested and step up and help his brother,” said their mother Patricia “Patty” Gervais. “He was like I’ve got to do something. He knew he couldn’t not do anything for him. It’s the most beautiful gesture between brothers.”
Indeed, it is. It also is one the family would rather never have had to consider. But that was the case less than a year ago when Josh, a seemingly healthy student studying marketing on the business front at West Virginia University, began having some health issues that could not be ignored this past December.
“(Josh) had been sick a few times after school had started. He went to a quick care place and would be given this and that, but there was nothing that really worked, and it just got worse,” Patty said. “At the end of first semester, he was really sick. He couldn’t even function.”
As he was wrapping things up for the semester on the school front, Josh became ill enough to call his family. It was at this point things began to unfold.
“We took him to the emergency room, and they did some lab work,” she said. “We found out he was in kidney failure.”
That was just over 11 months ago. Patty knew the date by heart – Dec. 15, 2022.
Suddenly, things turned upside down for the Gervais family. And a few days later, things got a little bit scary.
“(Josh was life flighted on Dec. 19 to West Penn Hospital when he underwent surgery to have his catheter installed and immediately started dialysis. During the four dialysis treatments they did, they removed 12 liters of fluid.”
That was nearly a year ago and just days after Josh Gervais, a 2021 Bridgeport High School graduate, went from trying to wrap up a semester at WVU, to eventually going on dialysis three days a week. Wednesday, Nov. 15, of this year they hope is the final one.
Now, the waiting game begins. Patty and her husband Michael will remain in Pittsburgh to look after their boys. Barring anything unforeseen, their son Michael will be the first to head home.
“We don’t know the timeline for either, but we know Michael will be the first one to go back home,” said Patty.
When Michael, a 2006 BHS graduate, goes home, his father will go with him. Patty said they had to make sure there was a caregiver available for both of their sons. She will eventually head home when it is time for Josh to come back to West Virginia.
“It is even harder to pinpoint a timeframe when Josh will come home, but we know he will be there for some time. They will be doing daily testing on him at first and then they will move to testing every few days to make sure his body is adjusting to his new kidney,” Patty said. “It will be nice when we’re all back together, but we understand when it comes to the care, we have to be away from one another. It’s part of a divide and conquer strategy to make this work. The good news is that all four of us will eventually be back together.”
While there are a lot of unknowns, there is one thing that is known for anyone who has been involved with a transplant situation or any long-term medical situation outside of the immediate area. There will be substantial costs involved well beyond what insurance provides and insurance typically does not provide lodging and meals for family members staying in the area to assist.
That is one of the things the Gervais family is facing. It is one of the things where the Bridgeport community can help out younger brother Josh, the student, and older brother Mike, the Bridgeport County Club Golf Pro, and their parents.
There is a GoFundMe page that was set up this week to help the family deal with some of the financial clamps that will soon be bearing down on them. Again, this is where not just the community of Bridgeport, but all of those throughout the area and beyond, can make a difference in the lives of a pair of brothers and their caring parents.
Click HERE to go to the GoFundMe page. There is also a private Facebook page with updates, Josh’s Journey, that you need to be approved to join.
You can click HERE to join. Please understand that due to the heavy time involved as the process is unfolding the family may not have the time to check social media as they deal with the two young men.
I feel pretty confident in speaking on behalf of the community, wishing all involved well. Already, the brotherly affection shown during this tough time has them both atop the leaderboard.
Peace to you all.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Josh Gervais during his high school days having a dominating day on the course (file photo by Ben Queen Photography), while he's shown with brother Michael leading up to the transplant surgery. In the third photo, Josh gives a thumbs up during his near year-long journey to get to a transplant. Bottom photo is a recent mug shot of Josh. Non-sports-related photos courtesy of Patricia "Patty" Gervais.

Connect Bridgeport
© 2024