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Gift of Life organ transplant helps save local EMT, single mom

Thirty-five-year-old Stacey Rodenas was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 11.

After graduating high school, she became an EMT, wanting to help people in their time of need.

When Rodenas became pregnant with her son, her diabetes triggered complications.

The high blood pressure combined with her spiking and sinking blood sugar levels wreaked havoc on her kidneys.

Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO of the Gift of Life Donor Program explains, “Those who suffer from diabetes often have kidney failure from their diabetes.”

By the time her son turned 6, Rodenas had to go on kidney dialysis
Rodenas was added to the Gift of Life donor list, in need of new kidneys and a pancreas.

According to Gift of Life, there are about 450 Hispanics in our region in need of organ transplants.

“In fact, about 80% of those people waiting in the Hispanic community are waiting for a kidney,” continues Howard.

Just one day after she was put on the list, Rodenas got the call.

“At 11:30 p.m. at night, I answered the phone and they said, “Hey, this is Jefferson transplant.” I was extremely shocked because I’m like, this is not happening, you expect to wait on the list for a significant amount of time,” Rodenas exclaims.

Now, Rodenas is able to live the normal life she’s always dreamed of.
“My son got his mom back. We were able to go to Disney,” Rodenas pronounces.

She doesn’t know the donor, but says she often thinks about them.

Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month and local stories by accessing the full article here.

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