Even at her sickest, Juana Hernandez believed in helping her family and community. With her donor's kidney, she has much more energy to continue serving those around her.
What began as a simple problem with his knee, later revealed much more serious issues with his health: he and his mother Lilia learned that his kidneys were failing.
After 6 years of waiting, Carlos Aguilar of Hillsboro, Oregon received his life-saving kidney transplant. A family acquaintance, who learned about Carlos through their church, stepped forward to be tested as his living donor and turned out to be a blood and tissue match.
Carlos' journey began years ago, when a simple problem with his knee led to an examination and biopsy, revealing much more serious issues with his health: kidney failure.
“At first it all overwhelmed me: finding out what was happening with my kidneys; that I couldn’t graduate on time from school… realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to do what I had wanted to was difficult. I have a lot of help from my family, but it has been hard,” he said.
Despite his kidney failure, Carlos never felt abnormal. “The lucky thing is I never had super bad symptoms from kidney failure,” he said. “I was sickest this last year on dialysis. It really took a lot of energy out of me, gave me headaches to the point where I wanted my family to leave me alone in quiet, and with the diet my appetite just went away and I started losing a lot of weight.”
Now, post-transplant, Carlos is on the road to recovery and “normalcy”. The emotional and financial support of his family, classmates, and community bolstered Carlos throughout the years as his need for a transplant became more urgent.
For the Aguilar family, the importance of registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor is clear: a greater diversity of donors means better chances of matching for everyone on the waiting list. For young adults like Carlos, signing up to be a donor and spreading the word about living kidney donation is a chance, “as if someone were saving my life.”
Donate Life Northwest urges people to designate themselves as a donor. Code your driver's license as donor, sign up on line at donatelifenw.org, or call 503.494.7888 or 1.800.452.1369 for a paper registry form. Please... share your decision with your family!