Carlos Baires-EscobarKidney Recipient, Minnesota
My name is Carlos Baires-Escobar. I’ve been a police officer for eleven years and I received my kidney transplant three years ago.
Back in 2004, I developed a kidney infection. The doctors started treating it, but nothing seemed to work and it became evident that I needed a transplant. Years after my diagnosis with no match in sight, a nurse friend of mine suggested that I share my story on social media. She thought that if I shared my story maybe someone would come forward and donate. I’m not the type of person that likes to draw attention to myself, so I told her no–nobody needs to know my struggle. But she said that if I wouldn’t create the page then she would. So we did it together.
I didn’t put too much information in the post. My friend wrote a bit and then we shared it. Shortly after I found out that a lot of people had called the clinic to get tested as potential candidates and it just took off from there. Then I received a voicemail on my cell phone, which informed that they found a match and that I needed to have the surgery as soon as possible.
I first spoke to Sebastian on the phone. When he introduced himself I just smiled, teared up, and said, “I know who you are.” I asked him a lot of questions, because I was skeptical. He just told me that he felt it was the right thing to do. Sebastian saw the post on Facebook because his mom had shared it. At first, she didn’t want him to donate a kidney. Why would he give a part of his body to a complete stranger? However, Sebastian felt that I was doing something good for the community and that he wanted to help.
It’s been almost four years since the transplant and I’m happy. Sebastian gave me a second chance. Before I met him I had basically given up. I accepted my situation. I knew that many people wait for years on the transplant list and some never get one. I didn’t expect to get a new kidney, but I did because of that post and Sebastian’s decision to donate.
I do police work and I pride myself on helping people and my community, but organ donation is a completely different concept of helping. Donating an organ is the ultimate help you can give to someone in need.
In my culture, organ donation is not a very popular topic. I guess you could say it’s a taboo subject and not a lot of people think about donating to others. Looking at my experience, I think it’s important to educate people. I’m here because somebody decided to donate their kidney and give me the gift of life. Sebastian helped me. Donation can help anybody–your brother, your sister, your mom your dad, your son. It’s always been a part of my culture to help others. I was brought up to believe that if you have something and someone else does not to share and help that person out. I think the same applies to organ donation. That’s the way it is in my community, you help others in need. That’s how we survive.