“These are the moments that bring us joy and they are all thanks to my donor.”
Deyra, kidney and pancreas recipient
Deyra developed type 1 diabetes at the age of nine. By her mid-twenties, Deyra was experiencing kidney problems and in 1995, after becoming pregnant, her kidneys failed. She began to lose hope and grew scared she would not live to see her thirties. “Doctors tried to treat my condition with diet and medication, but as a young professional trying to pursue a Ph.D. and balance my family life, I began to suffer,” says Deyra. “I always felt tired and my lack of energy became a way of life – I started to think that it was my new normal.”
Deyra struggled to meet the demands of everyday life and keep up with her son, Angel. What troubled her most was that she couldn’t actively participate in her son’s life like other moms. In the fall of 2001, Deyra was listed for a kidney and pancreas transplant. With her family and doctor’s support, Deyra remained hopeful that a quick transplant would come. One of Deyra’s biggest supporters was her husband’s grandfather, Papa Chago. The family and Deyra, especially, were devastated when he passed away in April 2002. Just one day after his funeral, Deyra and her family received news that a kidney and pancreas had become available.
“We joke that Papa Chago made it happen, that as soon as he got to go to heaven he found a match for me,” says Deyra. “I do know he was looking down on me smiling, knowing that my life would go on because of this amazing gift.”
Immediately following her surgery, Deyra felt better than she had in years, and today is no longer diabetic or in need of insulin. She was able to finish her doctor of philosophy degree in molecular genetics, and is currently an editor for scientific journals. Most importantly, Deyra says the transplant gave her a chance to be the mother and wife she feels her family deserves and an opportunity to cherish the little things in life, like sharing hugs with family and baking for friends. “I most appreciate the little things that, when you look back and reflect on life, are really the big things,” says Deyra. “These are the moments that bring us joy and they are all thanks to my donor.”