Help change the low number of organ donors in the Valley

Over 120,000 men, women and children are currently awaiting an organ transplant and one of them is Esteban Perez Jr.

From the day he was born the Brownsville teen TMs kidneys began failing.

His father, Esteban Perez Sr. said his son TMs first day of life involved having 11 tubes in him at one time.

It was his father who ultimately saved his life by giving him a kidney.

Now at 17 , Esteban is hoping to beat the odds again.

Recently within the last year or so, his kidney function started to deteriorate, said Perez.

His father added that the Veteran High School student is forced to go to dialysis three times a week in Corpus Christi.

It TMs a strenuous process the teen is bravely enduring.

The problem is that locally chances of finding a donor are slim because of the drastic organ shortage.

According to the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, of the thousands on the waiting list, about half of them need a kidney transplant like Esteban.

Edwina Garza with the alliance said that specially in the Valley, because of the high numbers of diabetes and high blood pressure, the need is huge need for kidney transplants.

Currently the Rio Grande Valley ranks amount the lowest across the state when it comes to registered donors.

Garza said in Hidalgo County only has about 16% of their population listed as donors, while in Cameron they have 18%.

The TOSA advocate said each day that goes by at least 18 people die waiting for an organ.

You don't really know what the numbers are until you're in those shoes, said Perez. There's so many people out there that need kidneys, livers, heart, lungs, and unfortunately most of us don't have the knowledge.

Fortunately for Esteban Jr. his future looks bright, after an extensive search his soon-to-be stepfather ended up being that perfect match.

But for the thousands of others who are still waiting, perhaps you may give them the gift of life.

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