Home Depot worker to help teen born without functioning kidneys
Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:15:24 GMT —
The odds were stacked against him since birth. Born prematurely in 1997, Esteban Perez Jr. was diagnosed with end stage renal disease. His father donated a kidney since Esteban's didn't work. Between the ages of 11-months-old and 17-years-old, Esteban tried living a normal life. Fishing. Golfing. Smiling. But the kidney he has is failing. It was never meant to last. "What's it been like for you?" Action 4's Ryan Wolf asked. "It's been kind of hard," the teen said. "But at the same time, you get used to it." He receives dialysis in Corpus Christi several times a week. Esteban worries, not about himself, rather his mom. "It's a struggle to see my mom with all the medical bills," he explained. In comes Alfonso Ibarra. The Brownsville Home Depot worker who goes by the name "Poncho" has a perfect match for a kidney donation. He's Esteban's future step-father. "I'm very blessed," Esteban said. "It's like a one in a million chance." Michelle Esqueda-Sosa nominated Poncho for the Pay it 4Ward prize. "I just want to tell you that what you're doing for your future son and my best friend Tracy is amazing," Michelle said inside Home Depot Thursday afternoon. "I want the public to know to know about organ donation and that's why I called Ryan Wolf to Pay it 4Ward to you." Karen Gonzalez with GEF Financial Agency is standing by with the reward. "Poncho, you are literally giving a piece of yourself to somebody who needs it," she said. "I can't think of anything more selfless or deserving of the Pay it 4Ward prize. So on behalf of GEF Financial and Action 4 News, please put out your hand." She hands him $400 in cash. "Thank you!" Poncho said with a smile. "I appreciate it." Ricardo Filizola, also with GEF Financial Agency, has an added bonus for everyone involved. He gives Esteban $200 in cash before sharing the news of a special trip. "I've arranged for a fishing charter," he said. "It's a half day fishing charter for both of you in the bay with a fantastic guide and you're going to have a blast with him." Home Depot is gracious enough to give Poncho a paid, half day off to enjoy their reward together. Ricardo also arranged for Esteban to have a round of golf with a professional coach by his side at the Rancho Viejo Country Club. Esteban says he can't wait to feel normal again. "I want to say thank you for all the prayers and the blessings," he said. Poncho urges others to look into being an organ donor. "I guess it's God's way of putting people in your path," he said. They're strangers turned family. It's a bond they two hope will last forever. "Pay it 4Ward!" they said.
o Fundraiser link for Esteban Perez Jrhttps://fundrazr.com/campaigns/bjGa7