Champion bowler's need for dialysis doesn't halt his travel plans, his nurse makes sure of it
Joe Mortellaro holds his 50-year bowling pin from the United States Bowling Congress and his nurse Ellen Tynan, of Lake Plains Dialysis in Batavia, holds the plaque he recently received from USBC.
When Corfu resident Joe Mortellaro, 82, wanted to go the 2019 U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships in April in Las Vegas, he thought being on dialysis might prevent the trip.
However, when Ellen Tynan, dialysis nurse at Lake Plains Dialysis on East Main Street in Batavia, learned about his proposed trip, she said nothing should stop him simply because he was on dialysis.
She contacted medical personnel in Las Vegas and arranged for Mortellaro to have a treatment early on Saturday morning, so he could bowl in the tournament.
“Doing all the referrals when people on dialysis want to travel is one of the positive things I do in my life,” Tynan said.
She explained Mortellaro was put on dialysis after having cancer in one kidney in 2003. Then in 2005, he required three bypasses.
“Because his one kidney was working so hard, Joe had high blood pressure and became anemic,” she said. “But his wife was sick and he put off his treatment to care for her.”
His wife, Sandra, died a year ago and Joe started dialysis in September.
Mortellaro has been bowling since he was 17 and dialysis three times a week hasn’t stopped him. Although he once had an average of 220, he still bowls a 190.
Mortellaro has been to nearly every U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championship meet in the past 50 years. He has 26 USBC championships to his credit.
His team who accompanied him to Las Vegas, where he received his 50-year bowling plaque, were Paul Spiotta, his nephew Todd Mortellaro, Greg Wolff, Joe Trigilio and Mark McVay.
Lake Plains Dialysis treats 111 patients at their sites in Batavia and Medina, and that number is growing, Tynan said.
Photo by Virginia Kropf.