Three summers ago, Steven Cojocaru, was on top of the world. The Montreal-born Cojocaru had morphed into Cojo, the hilarious and haughty fashion correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, who spent his time dishing celebrity fashion faux pas.
Then, reality bit. Hard. Having had high blood pressure since his 20s, Cojo dragged his exhausted self to a doctor, who after tests told his famous patient to get to a specialist fast; there was something seriously wrong with this kidneys. "Kidneys" Cojo shouted in horror. "Do I even have kidneys? What do they do?"
What they were doing was failing fast, due to Polycystic Kidney Disease. That's when he began a two year odyssey. He received a kidney from his best friend. But his body rejected it only three months later. After six difficult months on dialysis, a desperate Cojo asked his adored mother for a kidney. It is Amelia Cojocaru's kidney that has allowed her son to return to health.
He has brought with him a harrowing and hilarious memoir, Glamour Interrupted, How I became the Best-Dressed Patient in Hollywood. Cojo, who lives in Beverly Hills with his beloved Maltese, Stinky, wants his kidney brethren to know they aren't alone, that it's a pain in the patisserie to keep medications and diet requirements straight, that mood swings from steroids make patients puff up and lash out. But he also wants them to see firsthand - tune into ET or The Insider for living proof - that kidney disease doesn't have to define or confine the person who has it. Beyond ridding kidney disease of its "C-list status," he adds defiantly, "I'm going to make kidney disease the new black!"
Schtick aside, Cojo is serious about raising the profile of kidney disease and plans to work with the National Kidney Foundation to spread the word about the importance of routine doctor visits, blood tests and early detection. Understandably, he also is passionate about promoting organ donation. "When a transplant goes well, you are committed to taking care of yourself and the organ you were lucky enough to receive," he says. "That's what I'm doing. Living!"
Cojo is excited to be working with the National Kidney Foundation to spread the life-saving message about risk factors and the importance of early detection.
Jack Fassnacht, two time kidney transplant recipient and former chairman of the National Kidney Foundation's transAction Council, has written a warm and insightful book review. To read it, CLICK HERE.