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Buffalo Strong: Parade welcomes home Carmen after two liver transplants, month alone in hospital

Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 18:30:33-04

KENMORE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Welcome home, Carmen! Carmen Palma is 76-year-old. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. He is now recovering from two liver transplants, finally, at home. He spent a month alone in the hospital.

“If it wasn't for the pandemic, we would be invading his house right now,” said Peter LoJacono, a friend of Palma’s for about 40 years, “It would be all about hugs, kisses, embraces and love. To tell an Italian person that they can't hug and kiss somebody, it's like telling them they can't breathe.”

LoJacono couldn’t let Palma’s return home go without a gathering. Instead of flooding Palma’s house, he arranged for dozens of cars filled with loved ones to parade by. Palma’s the president of the Buffalo Italian Festival, so that giant extended family of Buffalo Italians all showed up.

“He's always about family. He's all about love, respect. We wanted to go and give that back to him. It's the Italian way,” said LoJacono.

Palma’s grandson donated part of his liver to Carmen, but it didn't take. Within days of Palma’s first transplant, he was receiving another full liver.

“He's our miracle man, because he's basically survived two liver transplants within a couple of days,” LoJacono said.

That’s why Palma’s arrival at home was a reason to celebrate.

“I think it's beautiful to be back home after a month in the hospital. It's great. Back to my Italian roots,” Palma said, “I can't put it in words. Everyone that showed up… God bless you and thank you.”