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Mother gives son a second chance at life through kidney donation at UCI Medical Center

March 27, 2019

IN THE NEWS: Fabian Pardo was suffering from end-stage kidney disease, and in dire need of a kidney. His mother, Amalia Ramirez, agreed to donate and was a perfect match.

However, doctors wouldn’t allow her to donate until she made some lifestyle changes. So, she lost weight and starting taking Zumba classes.

“My mama gave me her kidney, a second life,” says Pardo, 20, an Orange County resident and a student at Cal State Fullerton. “I feel so blessed.”

There is a critical need for donation. In the U.S., more than 100,000 people are diagnosed each year with kidney failure. In California, more than 18,000 people are on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, nearly 20 percent of the nationwide need.

“A live donor is gold,” says Dr. Donald C. Dafoe, chief of transplant surgery for UCI Health. “If someone comes to us with a live donor, we can do that transplant within three to six months once all testing is complete.”

The average wait time for a deceased donor organ can be up to seven years, with many patients surviving on kidney dialysis. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the five-year survival rate for dialysis patients is 35.8 percent. In comparison, the five-year survival rate is 85.5 percent for transplant patients.

An estimated 7,000 people died in 2016 while awaiting kidney transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Both Pardo and his mother are doing fine. Doctors expect Pardo to be back to his normal life style in six to eight weeks.

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UCI Health comprises the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 417-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.