STAMFORD, Vt. -- Martin Cristofolini lost four liters of blood last year when the "buttonhole" on his arm for undergoing kidney dialysis suddenly ruptured.
"It just burst open and half my blood went on the kitchen floor," Martin, 54, said Sunday. "I got in the bathtub I was bleeding so much. The EMTs wrapped up my arm for two hours before they could even get me in the ambulance to go to Pittsfield. I got four liters of blood that night."
But a matter of months later, one of Martin's daughters, Katelyn, 20, would free him from having to endure nights like that one.
Katelyn, who did not tell her parents of her plans until she was approved by Albany Medical Center to make her brave gift, donated one of her kidneys to her father on Jan. 9 of this year.
"He's my dad, and he's been helping me all my life, so it was time to return the favor," Katelyn said of her decision.
The family received a timely reminder of this love between father and daughter on Saturday, just before Father's Day, when the flag flown at Albany Medical Center to recognize Katelyn's donation arrived at the Cristofolinis' home.
"It was a flag that they put on the top of the building while I was there that week," Katelyn said. "We expected it to come, so the fact that it came the day before Father's Day was kind of cool."
Martin -- who has two other daughters and a stepdaughter -- was diagnosed in his late twenties with focal segmental
Martin's kidneys failed in July of 2007, forcing him to begin dialysis that August, a practice that Martin came to perform in his own home five days a week.
In 2010, both of his kidneys were removed because cysts on one had ruptured, a situation that Martin says nearly killed him.
Katelyn had already tried once at the age of 19 to gain approval for donating a kidney to her father, but Baystate Medical Center denied her because of her age.
This time, Albany Medical Center approved her, and Martin and his wife, Shelley, received the news after the approval.
"We were stunned, amazed," said Shelley. "We weren't quite sure. It's a double-edged sword: One gets one and one loses one. And you have two people in the hospital at the same time."
But now that Shelley says "everyone is very healthy and extremely happy," the family is grateful for Katelyn's generosity, and for each other.
"I try to do as much as I can for her," Martin said of Katelyn. "That's a big step for someone's that's 20 years old."