Choir Director Realizes He Needs A New Kidney. Then A Member Of His Own Chorus Steps Forward

by Kat Manos
Kat Manos is an Associate Editor who loves arguing about indie rock, classic literature, and "Star Wars."

There are few scarier moments than that initial moment you realize you’re really sick. It can be something dangerous, or it can be nothing, but the unknown alone is enough to cause worry.

At the age of 18, Michael Winslow  now the artistic director of the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus  wasn’t feeling well, so he went to the doctor. It turned out that he was diagnosed with a chronic illness called polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to constantly grow inside his kidneys.

Then, this time last year, Michael was told his kidneys were in worse shape than he thought. With the organs operating at only 20%, he knew he was going to need a kidney transplant.

Taking him completely by surprise, a member of Michael’s own chorus decided to step forward and help Michael out.

“When it’s a family member or your best friend that’s donating to you, it’s a little easier to accept,” Michael explained, “but when it’s someone you’re not close with and they take that selfless act, it really is absolutely amazing.”

The man who stepped forward was Chris Bonatsakis. In his mid-twenties, Chris is a social worker by trade, but loves being a member of Michael’s chorus when he’s not working. 

For Chris, this selfless act was necessary not only for Michael, but as a gesture for other friends who are currently ill.

“We weren’t really close before the surgery, but you develop a special relationship afterwards,” Chris explained.

Both of the men’s love for choir and dedication to the men in the chorus is truly unparalleled. Luckily, both are healthy now.

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