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.
Jose’s family is the most important thing in his life. Thanks to a generous kidney donor, he is still here to share life with them.
Jose has been with his wife Antonia since they met in their hometown of Durango, Mexico, in 1988, and his priority has always been taking care of his family – their three daughters and one son. He has worked hard to make sure they have everything they need. In addition to other jobs, for 18 years, he worked as a semi-truck driver. But as he worked this strenuous job, he started to feel increasingly sick and weak. In 2018, his doctor informed him that his kidneys were failing due to diabetes.
Life with a chronic illness and dialysis treatments isn’t easy for anyone. It was especially difficult for Jose, Antonia, and their family due to the language barrier. Fortunately, for the three years and seven months that Jose endured dialysis, his clinic had workers who spoke Spanish. However, he and his family faced a lot of difficulties finding other important information and resources that weren't available in Spanish or provided a translator. In spite of the challenges, his family stayed by his side throughout his illness, especially his son, who stayed with him while he was in the hospital, even after everyone else in the family had to return to work in the Hermiston, Oregon, area.
On July 12, 2022, Jose’s miracle came; he received a kidney transplant at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland. Since his transplant, his life has changed a lot. He is so grateful for the donor who saved his life, and he describes the experience as “incredible.” Due to diabetes-related vision loss, Jose has had to stop working, but thanks to his generous donor, Jose is able to enjoy his time with Antonia and their children and 12 grandchildren.
Jose has begun sharing his story to help his Latino neighbors understand more about organ donation and the importance of taking care of themselves. He explains, “After all, we all need to be better informed about our health, our diet, and how we live our lives to prevent having things like diabetes and then having the need to go to dialysis and have a kidney transplant.”
To those considering registering as organ, eye, and tissue donors, Jose encourages, “Say yes, because you can save many lives!” Like someone saved his.