Teen's transplant success shared
By Kelly Feser Eells
Ask Rosa Hernandez, whose son,
Andy, underwent a kidney transplant on March 12, how things are
these days and her eyes fill with tears - happy tears. "Pretty
good; everything has turned out pretty good. Everyone's so nice
I'm going to cry."
The "everyone" Hernandez refers to is the Ojai community
at large, which has "helped us, my family, a lot."
She points to the generous response to the fund-raising efforts
on her family's behalf (led by Gloria Jones, owner of Around
the Corner Art Gallery, and Lourdes Carranza, herself a kidney
transplant patient) as well as to the generous spirit of the
people of Ojai themselves.
"We're so blessed," Hernandez smiled. "We'd like
to thank everyone. Everyone!"
What makes her happiest, however, is seeing her 14-year-old son's
energy return and the newfound twinkle in his eyes. "Andy
feels so much better," she said. "Dialysis, well, it
just makes you so tired."
Born with small, weak kidneys, Andy's health deteriorated to
the point that, by age 11, his organs failed him completely.
In late 2000, he began intensive dialysis treatment and, for
nearly two-and-a-half years, "he's been connected to a machine,
six days a week, 10 hours a day."
The family's search for a donor came to an end in October of
2002, when Andy's paternal uncle, Socorro Hernandez of Mexico,
was found to be the closest match.
"The only match," notes Hernandez. "None of us"
- including husband, Andreas and Andy's two sisters, Rosie and
Brisa - "were even close."
Hernandez's brother-in-law arrived Oct. 31, and, since that time,
"We've been doing test after test, twice a month at UCLA,
right up until March."
Indeed, Socorro Hernandez is anxious to return home; he hasn't
seen his wife and 10 children in more than five months.
In the interim, Andy's family has been supporting them (as Jones
and Carranza announced last December, prompting donations to
the LUPE, Latinos Unidos Pro Educación, account set up
on Hernandez's behalf at Washington Mutual Bank).
"They're great people," said Carranza, who knows firsthand
how debilitating kidney disease is, and the toll it takes on
family and loved ones. "They want to let people know Andy's
well, to let this community know they're thankful."
So thankful, in fact, that Hernandez gets teary-eyed again. "My
son feels better than he has in years; he'll be going back to
school full-time in the fall."
Andy's worsening condition, she explains, "made him miss
a lot of school. A teacher (from Matilija Junior High) came here,
to the house, and that helped a lot. But still he'd like to get
out, see friends, do the things he did before," and soon,
she smiles, "he'll be able to."
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
AND SOCORRO HERNANDEZ share more than family ties since the uncle
donated a kidney to his nephew.