Parents give their children so much: support, shelter, time, love. But Wilfrido Salgado has given his daughter Marissa much more than most parents. On December 1st, 2009, he donated his kidney to save his daughter’s life.
Marissa is now married, attending college, and the proud mother of a two-year old daughter named Roxinny. But during her 3 ½ years of illness, Marissa was far from “normal.”
“During the process when I was waiting for a donor, I was on dialysis for nine hours every day. Everything I did, or wanted to do had to be around my dialysis machine hours. It was hard to be a ‘normal’ teenager when I had to go to hospital visits all the time and was taking medicine from the time I woke until the time I went to bed.”
When Marissa first began feeling sick at age 16, the doctors diagnosed her with a common cold and said her discomfort was due to nothing more than stress. But Marissa says she did not believe that stress was the cause of the daily vomiting that was disrupting her life, so she went for a second opinion. This time she was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and was sent to the hospital to start dialysis immediately.
“I was very scared; I never thought this would ever happen to me.”
Soon it became difficult for Marissa to deal with school, family and her personal life because she had no way of knowing if a new kidney would come in time. Thankfully, it did.
Her father’s gift gave Marissa a normal life again, and though the years of illness were a terrible struggle, she says this experience has made her grow as a person and appreciate things we often take for granted.
“This experience also made me understand that this can happen to any person at any age, day or time. These things happen to people on a regular basis, and this is why we should consider being organ donors, so one day we can have the opportunity to give someone a second chance in life. I was very blessed to been given another chance to live again and be a “normal” person.”