Andrew and Rita Weber of Margate are happy for another Valentine's Day together since they made medical history on Valentine's Day 10 years ago when Rita gave Andrew one of her kidneys, even though her blood type isn't compatible. He's doing well, and she gets a piece of kidney shaped Tiffany jewelry every Valentine's Day.

Edward Lea

The week around Valentine’s Day means more than romance to Andy and Rita Weber, of Margate.

On Feb. 11, 2003, Rita gave her husband a kidney — and they don’t even have the same blood type.

The couple made medical history with the first completely incompatible kidney transplant, said Andy, 65, who was the county counsel in Gloucester County for more than 20 years. Recently he has been an adviser to Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford.

Latest Video

Andy has polycystic kidney disease, an inheritable condition that results in kidney failure and sometimes stroke. His father died of it at age 42, he said. Andy was 49 when his doctor put him on the transplant list. Six years later he was in end-stage renal failure and still waiting.

“Rita always wanted to donate, but I said, ‘Honey, don’t worry about it. Somehow I’ll get a kidney,’” he said, not realizing he might not survive the wait.

They heard that surgeon Lloyd Ratner, then at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, was willing to try an incompatible transplant. Ratner chose the Webers for his first attempt.

The operation, which also removed Andy’s spleen so he can’t make antibodies, was a success. But he is now extra-susceptible to infection and must take precautions, such as wearing a high-tech mask when he flies in a plane’s recycled air.

The Webers volunteer for the Gift of Life program and encourage everyone to sign up as organ donors through their drivers’ licenses. For more information, visit

Meanwhile, Rita always gets a great Valentine’s gift: Tiffany & Co. jewelry, shaped like a kidney bean.

Gazebo repaired

Julia Hankerson, owner of Woodbine Wellness Center, didn’t give up when vandals damaged the gazebo she donated to the city in 2006, in memory of her parents Elmer Sr. and Rose Hankerson.

Instead, she repaired it and will rededicate it in a Black History Month prayer service at 1 p.m. Feb. 17 on the bike path across from First Baptist Church of Woodbine SOAR Center. All are invited.

St. Patty’s warmup

Dan Walsh, of Margate, is a financial adviser and lead singer of The Flynns, a local Irish band — with three generations of members all named Tom Flynn.

They’re playing Atlantic City’s Ri Ra Irish Pub in The Quarter at Tropicana 8 p.m. to midnight Feb. 17. The show is dedicated to Walsh’s father-in-law Jack Bradley, of Margate, who died last month.

It’s a warm-up to St. Patrick’s Day March 17, Walsh said. The band calls the gig St. “Practice” Day.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.