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The day came: Samantha Hall got her kidney.

POSTED May 21, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

It has happened! Samantha Hall has her new kidney thanks to heroic donor, Raymond Fracasso. Both are resting and kidney is functioning!

TORRINGTON: With the biggest day of her young life staring her down, all 11-year old Samantha Hall wanted to do was see Raymond Fracasso, the man who would be giving her a live saving kidney in a matter of hours.

“That’s all she wanted to know this morning when we got to the hospital,” Dan Hall (Sam’s father) said. “It was very important to her to see Raymond before the surgery.”

Samantha would see her friend Raymond all right and by Wednesday afternoon, two lives were changed forever.

On Wednesday morning the two would be next to each other, separated by a curtain yet about to be connected for life from the gift of a kidney that Fracasso was about to give.

At about 12:30, the transplant was completed at Hartford Hospital and Samantha had the gift she started looking for in December of 2013 when it was determined her kidneys were failing and she would be in need of a new one.

She is currently resting at Children’s Medical Center in Hartford while Fracasso mends as well.

Kidney functions are said to be strong.

It has been an exhausting five month stretch for the Hall family as they worked tirelessly to get word out about their daughter’s condition which left her kidneys functioning at just seven percent at one point.

This is a little girl who is about as tough as they come. Samantha toughed out more procedures in her little more than a decade on this earth as most adults would ever have to.

Heck, she was in school on Tuesday, the day before major surgery.

This process has been as inspiring as it has been draining.

First, the outpouring from a community that has still not stopped. Fundraisers were held at locations around Torrington and the surrounding towns.

People poured into P-Sams in Torrington for one event while the Sons of Italy, CT Diesel event was mobbed as well.

The Winsted Fire Department did their part, as did Hunter Chase in Litchfield.

It was at the P-Sam’s that we met the guy everybody could truly call a life saver.

“Everybody Loves Raymond” was not just a sitcom anymore, this father himself was willing to give part of himself in order to save a neighbors child.

Bumps have been a plenty along the way while the surgery was being planned.

Just two weeks ago, a day before her 11th birthday, the Halls got a call 20 minutes before they were to appear on our Litchfield County Sports Show at the Torrington Applebee’s letting them know that Sam had a small infection that would push things back a couple of weeks.

That was after the initial date of April 2 was moved back by one of Samantha’s doctors.

Finally, this day arrived.

Sam, ever tough, got a little teary eyed when she had to leave her dad and mom, Heather Burns but moved forward towards a better and healthier future.

Her parents stepped out for a bit to eat at a Friendly’s (great choice) across the street and came back to some pretty terrific news.

“Doctors told us everything went well and we both got pretty emotional,” Hall said. “We heard that Raymond’s first words were “How’s Sam?”.

The journey is still not over, the recovery period can be up to six months for Samantha, about half that for Raymond.

Dan and Heather will be spending a great deal of time staying right where they are, by their daughter’s side.

While folks may want to visit this brave local young lady, it will be family only for a bit until Samantha is up to being around more folks who can’t wait to see that smiling face.

If anyone is looking to send flowers or fruit, the family asks that they refrain from it because they could potentially lead to infections. This little one will be in kind of a bubble for a while, she has come too far to be set back now.

Donations for treatments not covered by insurance can still be made at

For those of us lucky enough to know young Samantha, we were always hopeful this day would come.

To understand that it has is beyond gratifying.

Samantha has become one of our own, a communities own and tonight, we all will be getting a little emotional when we think about what happened today.  

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here