April & Carlos

People say Carlos was lucky to find me.  The truth is I was lucky to find him and as I always say;

Carlos wasn’t my husband but he was someone’s husband. 

Carlos wasn’t my father but he was someone’s father.

And Carlos wasn’t my brother….but he is now.” - April

In September of 2009, I found myself like any other day sitting at my desk in the Mayor’s Office.  I was working on my computer with my Facebook account open when a new status popped up on my news feed.  It was from Carlos Sanchez, one of my residents in the town of roughly 30,000 and one of my many Facebook ‘friends’.  I knew Carlos in passing, which is to say if I saw him in town I knew him well enough to say hello.  But as mayor of a small city you say hello to everyone; it’s your job.  What I saw on the screen that day had nothing to do with my job.  There was a post from Carlos that simply said ‘I am in need of a kidney transplant.  All of my friends and family have been tested and there is no match.  If you are interested in being tested as a donor let me know.’  I saw the status and without skipping a beat I sent him a private message that said something to the effect of ‘Carlos, I’ll get tested.  I have two kidneys so what the hell? You can have one!’  Carlos and his family did not take it seriously and two days later, after not hearing back from him I sent another message expressing my honest interest.  He simply replied with the contact info for the Yale Transplant Coordinator and a thank you for considering him.  I made the call for more information and found that it would be a long process.  I planned to get started immediately but an ugly negative opponent in that year’s election cycle got the best of me and my attention was focused on winning reelection.  At Christmas time, now starting my second term in office, I ran into Carlos at a town event.  I was struck by his condition; he was ashen and unsteady on his feet and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I better do something sooner rather than later.

 

As I went through the testing process I also spent time getting to know Carlos.  Not a day went by that he didn’t say to me ‘Honey, I appreciate you doing this and if you’re not a match I still love you for going this far.’  One day I turned to him and sternly said ‘Stop saying that!  You have to believe.  It’s GOING to happen.’  I had the benefit of knowing something he didn’t; from the second I saw his status I knew as sure as I knew my own name that I would be his donor.  I just plain knew. 

 

Turns out my gut was right.  On April 8, 2010 the transplant team at Yale New Haven Hospital, the real heroes in this story, took my left kidney and put it into Carlos Sanchez.  Today Carlos and I are healthy, well and as close as any family can be.  People often ask how I could give my kidney to a relative stranger.  My answer is always the same ‘How could I not?’  I was raised to believe that if you can help someone, you do and you don’t expect accolades for it.  We share our story so people can open their minds to live organ donation and shorten the wait for thousands suffering needlessly. 

 

People say Carlos was lucky to find me.  The truth is I was lucky to find him and as I always say;

Carlos wasn’t my husband but he was someone’s husband. 

Carlos wasn’t my father but he was someone’s father

and Carlos wasn’t my brother….but he is now.

CT Coalition for Organ & Tissue Donation, dba, Donate Life Connecticut

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 278 Durham, CT  06422

Physical Address (No mail deliveries accepted):  

16 Main St  Durham, CT  06422

P: 203-387-1549 | F: 860-894-2499

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