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Bill Kirby Jr.: St. Pauls woman has faith in God for a new kidney

“God has the right kidney out there for me,” Tammy Brocato says. “God has already picked the person.”


Even in disappointment, Tammy Brocato remains steadfast in her faith.

She’s not giving up on God.

“God has the right kidney out there for me,” Brocato, 54, was saying this week from her bed at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst. “God has already picked the person.”

Diabetic since 2001, the disease has taken its toll, and today Brocato is in dire need of a kidney transplant.

“We have had two donors, but they both had diabetes,” says Emma Lou Pereira, who is by her daughter’s side at the hospital almost every hour of every day. “One of the girls didn’t know until last week until she went to UNC Medical Center at Chapel Hill.”

It wasn’t the news Brocato wanted to hear.

“She was very disappointed,” Pereira says.

These are times that will test your resolve.

“Normally, my spirit is pretty good,” Brocato says. “Right now, it’s pretty low.”

But where there’s faith in God, hope never is far.

“You go to your Father when you need something, and ask him,” Pereira says, “When I pray, I speak to that infection. When she has pain, I pray.”

Pereira says, too, that the Rev. Wesley Pritchard and members of Fayetteville Community Church keep her daughter and family in their prayers.

“We are putting out pleas to see if a match is there,” says Pritchard, senior pastor at the church. “We’re trying to see if somebody would be willing to see if they would want to be tested and give their kidney as a gift of life.”

Disappointment, but some good news

Brocato grew up in Robeson County and graduated from St. Pauls High School in 1986. She liked trips to the beach and mountains. She liked spending time with her half-sister, Robin Henderson, and nephew Alex.

“She just loves him,” Pereira says.

Brocato studied at Robeson Technical Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College and earned her degree as a licensed practical nurse. She later worked at Woodhaven Nursing Home in Lumberton, in labor and delivery at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton and later at Bladen County Hospital in Elizabethtown in labor and delivery, the intensive care unit and the emergency room.

As her Type II diabetes progressed, medications led to insulin.

“She’s been on insulin for about 10 years,” Brocato’s mother says. “She drove up until 2020. She is legally blind. In February of 2021, they told her she needed a kidney She started dialysis last April. She’s on it three days a week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.”

Brocato has been a patient at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, her mother says, since March 15 after being diagnosed with several health issues.

“She was a very sick child,” her mother says. “She had to get two pints of blood. I said that was the blood of Jesus flowing through her veins.”

Brocato’s spirits were buoyed when a second kidney donor came through, but only to be dashed when that donor, Pereira says, was diabetic, too.

Monday, there was good news.

“A girl called today to see if she is a candidate for it,” Pereira says. “She is from St. Pauls.”

For Brocato, the news was uplifting.

“I’m happy somebody is taking the initiative to do that,” she says. “It takes a special person.”


Tammy Brocato is praying.

So is Emma Lou Pereira.

“It will save her life,” she says. “It will put her back where she can function again. Her plan is to get an apartment and get on her own and be herself and live her life.”

Now, Brocato waits to see if her latest potential donor is a match.

“She still has a lot of faith and hope,” Pereira says. “And says, ‘I’m going to be a walking testimony after this.’”

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

Column, Bill Kirby Jr., kidney transplant