Kimberly suffers from kidney disease and has for most of her life. She is 20 years-old and has been in need of a transplant for several years. She does 5 bags of peritoneal dialysis daily and is at the maximum her body can tolerate. Transplants are not very common here in Guatemala and the process is complex. In the last couple of years there have been on average 100 transplants performed per year with relative donors. For the most part a person in need of a transplant must depend on relatives. In Kimberly’s case the donor would be her mom.
To even be considered for the donation program Kimberly applied for, a patient must graduate from high school. This would allow them to get the type of job that offers IGSS - the Guatemalan national healthcare and social security. Without that, the person would not be able to afford the anti-rejection medications which cost about $800/US per month. Kimberly attended our school for her final year. Her health was not great and it was a battle we were all fighting, including her, to get through the year and graduate. In November of 2017, with lots of prayer, encouragement and hard work on her part she made it!
With the diploma in hand it was time for Mom to start medical testing to make sure she could be the donor. When Kimberly was enrolled in a different donor program a few years before, they were told Mom qualified so that had been the plan all along. At this time, we also started raising money to build the family a house. They lived in a converted cow stall which did not meet the sanitation requirements of the donor program. In order to qualify, she would need to live in a clean house and have her own bedroom and bathroom.
In December of that year, we took all of the families to a water park as a little celebration for working hard and finishing the school year. Kimberly and her family came along and enjoyed the day immensely. She told her mom that it was one of the best days she’s had and if she dies, she will be happy.
Early last year things came to a halt. Miriam’s testing came back as negative for donation. It turns out she had kidney disease as well. Miriam’s heart was broken as were all of us. Several months after that, they did meet another doctor who said Kimberly would be eligible for a cadaver donation program. However, not many of those are done.
A house for her was on our hearts as well as this was another requirement of any transplant program: that she live in a healthy environment with separate bathroom facilities for her. We knew we wanted to help with the house as part of the process for her to be able to meet the requirements of a transplant but did not have the needed funds. Then a friend called in October and asked if we knew anyone in need of house. Yes we did! He had a small fundraising event and it was just what we needed to build a house for Kimberly and her family that will meet the requirements of the transplant program. It’s been neat to see how God has provided for this family. Our prayer now is that her health would allow her to find a job that would provide the benefits necessary for the transplant program.