The Bond of Brothers
Patrick Kane ’89 and his brother Sean ’94 have the type of relationship where finishing each other’s sentences isn’t uncommon.
“We’ve always been close,” Sean says. “He’s my big brother. We’ve always had a great relationship.”
But last summer, as both brothers headed off to surgery together, their brotherly bond grew even stronger. They no longer needed words to express how each other felt.
The brothers’ story begins long before last summer or their surgeries, or even before Sean followed Pat – and their sister Aileen Kane Hand ’91 – to The University of Scranton.
Born with only one kidney, Sean developed hydronephrosis – what he describes as a blockage – on the organ at the age of two. From that point, he was subjected to procedures and surgeries to help him maintain his health.
“This is all I’ve known,” Sean says. “We joke about it. One Christmas, the whole family spent the day in the hospital. I’m sure my mom loved that one.”
Sean managed through his health issues, but years later, after a trip to Africa with his fiancé, Allison, he fell ill, pushing his already declining kidney into further turmoil. His doctor knew the urgency; it was time for a transplant.
Pat, Aileen and their oldest sibling Paul were all tested and it was determined that Pat was the best match. Pat’s wife, Lisa, and the couple’s two sons knew the risks, but were supportive from day one. And so, in July 2010, the two brothers went under the knife.
“To be honest, it was never a question,” recalls Pat of his decision to donate a kidney to Sean. “We didn’t talk about it much.”
Both brothers remember the family going quiet leading up to the surgery.
“Everyone stopped talking to me. I don’t think they knew what to say,” Pat says.
Sean remembers the nervousness that came over his family, but “for me, it was surgery or death. So what was my alternative? I was calm and excited.”
After both procedures proved successful, the brothers have turned their attention to the future.
Pat, who recently left Wall Street to launch his own alternative mutual fund, set a goal of completing a Tough Mudder, a 12-mile adventure race. He recently reached the finish line alongside his Scranton roommate, Phil Keenan ’89.
Sean, the senior vice president of human resources for Heineken Americas for nearly nine years, has had a slightly more difficult recuperation. After his initial recovery, he experienced a slight setback due to side effects from his post-transplant medication, which caused him to undergo bi-lateral hip replacement surgery in March 2011. Since then, Sean has started to regain his strength, and is now planning a June 9, 2012, wedding to Allison.
“I’m trying to figure out how to live my life with all these new parts and I’m enjoying every minute,” Sean says. “I want to thank Pat, but when I try to, he makes it seem like it was no big deal. I was the person in need, but I hope my brother knows if the roles were reversed, it wouldn’t have been a question for me either.”