Filipino man flies to San Diego to save cousin’s life

FOX 5 San Diego | Kristina Audencial

SAN DIEGO – A 7,500 mile trek to save a life.

Last month, a man fulfilled his father’s dying wish by donating one of his kidneys to a sick cousin.

Cousins Bianca Santos and Paulo Pono were thick as thieves growing up in the Philippines. The pair was born in the same month, in the same year. As young kinds, they lived in the same subdivision in Cebu. Pono often recalls picking Santos up from elementary school with her mother.

However, a rare disorder, Henoch-Schönlein purpura, struck Santos at the age of 10, causing her kidneys to slowly fail. In search of better medical attention, her family moved to the U.S.

FOX 5 sat down with Santos, now an engineer at Qualcomm, just weeks after major surgery.

She said two years ago, at the age of 29, she received devastating news. Doctors said she needed a new kidney. Her parents turned out not to be matches, and two different organ transplant labs informed Santos it could take years to find a donated kidney, so the Santos family reached overseas for help. Continue reading

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