When Ernesto Bravo Chavez was three years old, he was frequently sick. “My parents took me to the emergency room many times, but the doctor would always tell them it was the flu,” said Ernesto. One day he became very ill; his kidneys had failed. He started dialysis and was eventually listed for a kidney transplant.
After 15 months of dialysis and complications due to severe asthma, Ernesto received a kidney transplant on October 5, 2005.
Since Ernesto received his transplant, his family has changed their mind about organ donation. “My mom always said she wanted to be buried just the way she was born,” said Ernesto. “But now she has changed her mind. She wants her body to help all people, and my dad thinks the same way.”
Ernesto’s donor was Gabriel Barajas, of Los Angeles, a member of the Special Forces team that captured Saddam Hussein. Barajas had returned from three tours in Iraq when he was killed in a car crash. Ernesto has met Gabriel’s family and he and his family spend a lot of time with them. “My donor, Gabriel Barajas, is a hero to me,” said Ernesto. “Besides being a soldier, he gave me a second chance to live.” Thanks to his donor, Ernesto is able to eat what he wants, take a shower or a dip in the pool. “Without my hero, I wouldn’t be a normal kid.”> More Stories