Toward the end of 2015, Juan began feeling unwell. But when the feeling persisted for several weeks, he decided to see a doctor. “They found out that my kidneys had stopped working. They were surprised I even made it in there,” he says. Juan was admitted to the hospital and doctors tried to get his kidneys functioning again. But it wasn’t long before he was put on dialysis and told he needed a kidney transplant to survive.
Juan’s friends and family rallied around him, creating social media pages and car decals to find a donor. His daughter’s Girl Scout troop even focused their community service project on creating flyers that were posted at her school. “We tried with friends and family members to have them tested, but some had other health issues or weren’t good enough matches,” he says.
Eventually, it was a complete stranger who came to Juan’s aid. “My donor said she knew somebody who was from my daughter’s school and had posted about it on their social media,” he says. She turned out to be a perfect match and donated a kidney to Juan in September 2020.
Six months after surgery, Juan and his donor were able to meet. “To finally know who she was and to thank her was really nice,” he says. “She didn’t think about herself; she was just trying to help me. She knew this was something she had to do.”
Today, Juan is healthy and encourage others to give back by joining the organ and tissue donor registry or donating blood. “With the blood shortage, I tell people that it can make a big difference to donate even one time,” he says. “If you can, do it to help out.”
People need people, make a difference in someone’s life by donating blood.
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