Kidney transplant kept family intact
POSTED: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 4:52pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 12, 2013 - 10:50am
McAllen, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Rosa Olivares is just happy to be alive.
Her kidneys gave out earlier this year and her son Felipe stepped up and donated one of his.
"They said I was a perfect match, so I said 'okay, let's do it,'" Felipe Olivares said about donating a kidney to his mom.
Felipe had to take two months off from his job as a Cameron County detention officer. Rosa is grateful to see another day and for her son's sacrifice.
"Now I feel good, happy, because I'm alive," Rosa said in Spanish. "It hurt, it hurt to see him there, very hard."
It all worked out fine because Felipe was a great fit. A kidney going from the 170 officer to the 130 pound home provider is a the ideal pairing; especially when they're direct relatives.
"Rosa received a kidney from her son who's a male, and a big person, muscular person, and so that kidney is really the perfect kidney," said Dr. Mourad Alsabbagh, who oversaw the Olivares' procedure and recovery.
Rosa Olivares was lucky that her son Felipe was such a good match. But for hundreds of people on the kidney transplant waitlist, it'll be years before they find their match.
Rosa's high blood pressure led to the kidney failure. She said before the transplant, she would eat whenever she cold. The 48-year-old didn't live a healthy lifestyle. She used to weigh more than Felipe Now she's about sixty pounds lighter.
"One day I would wake up fine and I would think, need to take advantage of the day since I woke up well," Rosa said in Spanish. "Today I'm hungry. And I wold take advantage of the day because I might not have another one."
Half the patients that Dr. Alsabbagh sees have either hypertension or diabetes; the two leading causes of kidney failure.
It's a big problem in the Rio Grande Valley.
He asks that everybody become a donor. Make sure the pink heart on your driver's license says your organs can go to somebody in need. So hopefully everybody whose kidney fails can do as well as Rosa and Felipe are doing.