Donation saves man’s life after he lost hope
Jesse Villalobos Jr. had given up hope.
His father, mother and two aunts had died from complications such as renal failure from diabetes, and less than a month ago he had all but resigned himself to the idea of not living to the end of the year.
“I’ve been diabetic since I was 11 or 12 years old,” said Villalobos, now 36. “I never took care of myself as a boy.”
His wife, Carole, said his kidneys, when viewed through an ultrasound, looked like tiny raisins, and he wasn’t passing any fluid through his body.
Jesse Villalobos Jr. had entered end stage renal failure, nearly four years into dialysis treatment.
The couple had been preparing for a five-way kidney transplant and donor exchange situation through the Methodist Specialty and Transplant Center, because Carole Villalobos was not a match for him.
“I said to (Carole) that I don’t think this is going to happen, that I think the donor list is just a way to keep up people’s hope,” Jesse Villalobos, Jr. said.
Then in mid-April the phone rang, and rang.
When they didn’t answer, Dianne Tarpy, a coordinating nurse for the transplant center, called the police to knock on their door.
“She said she had the opportunity of a lifetime,” Carole Villalobos said.
A six-point match for a kidney became available on April 15.
Though he doesn’t know exactly who donated his kidney, Villalobos “just wanted to say thank you,” he said, “I can’t really put it in words.”
Everything seemed to be falling in place, Carole Villalobos said.
Jesse Villalobos Jr. had a stint put in his heart just a month prior to the surgery. Without the stint, he might not have qualified for a transplant because of his poor health, Carole said.
“It was almost like it was completely planned,” she said.
Become a donor
• www.Matchingdonors.com tries to match donors with patients awaiting transplants. It can also help transplant recipients with expenses not covered by insurance.
• Call Esmeralda “Mela” Perez at the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, (210) 614-7030.
• Become one of the more than 715,000 Texas organ donors in less than 60 seconds, log on to www.donatelifetexas.org and register with the Glenda Dawson Donate Life-Texas Registry by filling out the online form.
A confirmation letter with your donor ID card will be mailed to you within 10 business days.
If under age 18, the registration must be certified by a parent or legal guardian.
You can also register to be a donor when you apply for or renew a Texas driver’s license or ID card at the Department of Public Safety office.