EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Pasoan Elizabeth Moreno is asking for help from her El Paso family after finding out that no one in her biological family is able to donate a kidney to her.
Elizabeth Moreno, 52, has kidney and renal failure. She has seven brothers and sisters, but all of them have diabetes, leaving Moreno with no more family members left to ask as she searches for someone willing to be a living donor.
“Eventually if my other kidney goes, that’s it, it’s barely working now,” said Moreno.
Moreno became emotional while speaking with KTSM 9 News, showing photos of her daughter’s wedding, fearing she won’t live long enough to meet her grandchildren.
“I would really like to get a donor to be able to be here for maybe, one day, if I ever become a grandma, to be able to be there for them,” said Moreno.
While she hopes to live to see her grandchildren, she’s also worried about being here for her autistic godson.
“I would love to be around for my godson — he’s autistic so you know he needs a lot of attention and I give it to him a lot,” said Moreno, as tears filled her eyes. “I’m there for him a lot of time and, well, I’d like to be here for him as he gets older.”
Her family is desperate to help, even creating a hashtag called #Kidney4Liz on social media, but they are not healthy enough to be her donor. Dr. Elizabeth Thomas, surgical director for the living donor program at UT Health San Antonio, explained is a common problem that many families face.
“Diabetes is the most common reason that people have renal failure and it often runs in families, so that is definitely a challenge,” said Thomas.
However, Thomas said anyone can be a living donor, if you’re healthy enough.
“Your potential living donor could honestly be a perfect stranger,” she said. “I mean, do you have to match? Absolutely, we’ll figure that out, you know, we’ll figure out if you match.”
According to Thomas, Moreno is just one of almost 100,000 people waiting to receive a kidney and there are less than 20,000 kidneys available for transplant. She said every living donor is saving not one, but two lives.
“They are saving two lives — they are saving the life of their recipient undoubtedly and they are actually saving the life of another person who can get that deceased donor instead,” said Thomas.
She said that while it can be challenging to find someone outside of your family to be a donor, it’s not impossible.
“It can be a friend — we’ve had teachers give to students, we’ve had in-laws give to each other in whatever capacity, preachers give to their parishioners. I mean, it’s been just amazing, amazing combinations. Really it’s just about a person who genuinely wants to be a donor giving to a recipient — there doesn’t have to be relation,” said Thomas
For more information about what it takes to become a living donor, click here.