Cedarhurst woman, Jersey City police officer bond over transplant


The Cedarhurst village board awarded citations to two people who had connected through faith. These two individuals did not know each other, do not live in the same state, but it is faith that can bring a relationship together. For these people who believe in faith they also attest to the notion that everything happens for a reason.

Cedarhurst resident Gitti Allman and former Jersey City police officer Anthony “Sunny” Silver received the certificates at the July 12 village meeting, where Mayor Benjamin Weinstock shared their story.

Silver a decorated police officer with 42 years of experience is known by his family, friends, and colleagues as a hero. He was on duty during 9/11 and was one of the officers who responded to the Dec. 10, 2019, kosher grocery store shooting in Jersey City, where five people, including the two assailants were killed and two police officers were wounded. Two months prior to this shooting Silver learned his kidneys were failing.

After Silver learned about his kidney failure in October 2019, he started taking dialysis for hours after his shifts concluded. He waited 15 months on the organ transplant list before he received a phone call from the lieutenant of his precinct about a woman that wanted to donate her kidney.

Allman is a cake designer, and in the words of Silver, “a hero who saved his life and is the reason why he is able to see his grandchild.” Allman initially wanted to donate blood, however she realized later that she signed up to donate one of her kidneys.

Five Town shuls, a local community chat that I go on, somebody had posted about donating B positive blood, she said. “So, I sent my information in and the woman who placed the ad thanked me for being a kidney donor, and I had no idea what she was talking about, but I was intrigued about it and did research about it and eventually got tested to see if this was something I can go through with.”

Allman said she felt comfortable after conducting research and was fortunate enough to have medical professionals who made sure she would be in good hands throughout the procedure. “I went to Montefiore Hospital [in the Bronx] and was introduced to an organization called Renewal. They are amazing, they helped me in every way and streamlined the whole operation.”

Three months after Allman became a kidney donor her friend Ester Wein had passed along a video clip that went viral of Silver needing a donor. Allman, unsure how she was going to find a stranger, days later called the Jersey City Police Department, and found the number to the precinct where Silver worked. He is now retired.

Eventually, Allman got in contact with Silver and throughout those few minutes on the phone a brand-new relationship blossomed into something they both would never forget. Silver talked about that moment when he received the call stating, “I thought it was a prank call, I thought the guys were cracking jokes,” he said.

Serendipitously, it turns out, the pair shares a special bond. “My blood type is so rare that I doubt we would be a match,” Allman said. “I asked him what blood type you are, and he said I have B blood, and immediately started screaming. We went to get our DNA test and the doctor had said we could have passed for siblings.”

The transplant surgery was performed on March 3, of last year and it turned out that the Silver and Allman operation was the last one done as the transplant program was shut down the following day because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked what it means to help someone in Silver’s medical condition, Allman said, “To have the chance to save a life is something I don’t think most people don’t ever get the chance to do. Not only did I get a chance to save a life I got a chance to save a life of someone who is so incredibly important.”