WHAT A LIFESAVER

By ERIKA MARTINEZ

May 10, 2005

A Bronx police officer who has spent the last seven years watching a fellow officer fade away from nearly complete renal failure will give him a priceless gift this week a healthy kidney that will save his life.

The officer, Lisa Murphy, 40, has worked the 4 p.m.-to-midnight tour in the 40th Precinct with youth officer Vance Lloyd since 1998, two years after Lloyd almost died of kidney failure.

By the time Lloyd known as "Gunny" around the precinct from his two decades as a Marine gunnery sergeant had a stroke in 2002, Murphy had decided she'd seen enough.

"She said, 'Gunny, I want to do this,' " Lloyd recalled.

"I told her it's a big thing to have someone do for you. But over a year and a half, she convinced me."

Murphy, a 13-year NYPD vet, said she was motivated mostly by Lloyd's service to his country and his community, first in the Marines, but, more recently, as a youth officer looked up to by dozens of kids.

"He does such a great job," she said.

"They come in there and they look at him like he's a rock star.

"He's saved so many kids. He gets them to go to school and get good grades. A lot of them come back years later just to see him.

"Here's a guy who fought for his country, he's a police officer, he takes care of all these children and he's got four of his own," Murphy added. "And he can't get a kidney."

Lloyd, 45, said he's been on a list to receive a kidney since 1997, shortly after both of his organs failed and almost killed him.

The 12-year NYPD vet has been receiving dialysis three days a week ever since.

Still, he tried to dissuade Murphy, telling her that she'd never be the right donor match to him. But she had a hunch.

"He's 6-foot-6 and black and I'm a 5-3 and white, so you wouldn't really think we'd match, but I just had a feeling, I don't know why," she said.

And she was right. The operation is set for tomorrow at Westchester County Medical Center.

Murphy's left kidney will be removed and implanted into a space near Lloyd's groin.

His own failing kidneys will remain in place in case the transplant doesn't take.

"She's giving me back my life," said Lloyd, who has been married to his high-school sweetheart for 25 years. "She's giving me back everything. She's like my sister, she's great."

Murphy returned the favor.

"He's a great guy, a terrific man," she said. "If it wasn't meant to be, we would never have been a donor match. To think that I can make a difference in his life, it actually does fill my heart."

Murphy said she's not nervous about giving up her kidney but hasn't told her 89-year-old grandmother out of fear of giving her a heart attack.

"It would only worry her," she said.

Ellie