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Donor Search Success Story: Luiz

My name is Luiz, and I want to share my kidney transplant journey.

Luiz, left, and his donor, Damian

I was a dialysis patient for 2 years. In those 2 years I went through many life changes that I assure you no one is prepared for! But I took everything that came my way with a positive attitude. The days I felt I hit rock bottom I would challenge myself to strive in success even harder!

Luckily, I had a great team: my family and all of the dialysis nurses and especially God that taught me everything I needed to know about my disease, even how to be patient.

But I knew in my mind I wanted to obtain a transplant as soon as I could. This was another challenge. As soon as I met the transplant team, I knew I had many challenges that I had to complete in order to obtain a transplant!

As I was overweight (296 lbs), my surgeon told me I had to lose weight (26 lbs) or I would have to get bariatric surgery, which I was not looking forward to doing. Without losing weight I could not get a transplant. So I told my surgeon I would do it on my own and would be successful at it!

I did my research on what I consumed in a day of eating and wow, I was surprised at how many calories I consumed in a day of unhealthy food. So I changed my lifestyle of eating unhealthy to a better, more satisfying way of eating and a little exercise (a 30-minute walk) every day. I am currently down to 233 lbs to this day!!

I walked into the surgeon’s office feeling confident in myself that I had overcome that obstacle in less than 4 months and was ready for the next challenge.

I was contacted by EJ Tamez, my microsite coach provided by the transplant team, who taught me about a social media site where you provide a testimony of why you are looking for a transplant and what people can do to provide you with a donation.

He also provided me with cards that I was to hand out to everyone I could to let them know I was in need of a kidney and the search was on. These cards helped me tremendously, as I was shy to give them out but I gained confidence as people would tell me that I would find someone soon!

Time passed and I got a call from the transplant center notifying me that someone had come to do all of their testing and was a match with me!! I felt my heart stop, I couldn’t believe it! I asked to know who it was but they couldn’t tell me unless this person wanted to let me know.

I was so excited, I called my family and told them the great news. I also asked them if anyone knew who it was but nobody knew. I called my friends and coworkers until finally my friend tells me it was him! I was very grateful, I couldn’t express in words how excited and thankful I was. But he told me he was put on this earth to serve a purpose—to help others in time of need!

So to all the people who are looking for someone to donate, don’t stop looking—there are heroes out there willing to help out! You just need to let them know that your looking for them. Remember to be positive and strive because at the end of the day there will always be light at the end of the tunnel!