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San Benito pastor receives life-saving kidney donation from wife

San Benito pastor receives life-saving kidney donation from wife
4 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago Wednesday, June 19 2024 Jun 19, 2024 June 19, 2024 6:43 PM June 19, 2024 in News - Local

Pastor Eliu Gonzalez can often be found behind the pew at Templo El Salvador Church in San Benito.

He’s been preaching since 2005, and he said faith helped him cope when doctors diagnosed him with kidney failure in 2018.

“My faith was bigger than the trauma,” Gonzalez said.

He needed a new kidney, and doctors recommended Gonzalez start dialysis while he waited for a possible organ donation. 

Gonzalez went through intense treatment for five years and three months. 

“It's traumatic not only on your physical body and your emotional state, it affects you because you think the session could be your last one,” Gonzalez said.

According to the Health Resources and Service Administration, there are currently over 103,000 people on the national transplant list.

Gonzalez’s miracle came after his wife Lorena made the decision to give up her one of her kidneys.

“I didn't even think twice,” Lorena said.

The couple underwent 12 months of extensive physical and psychological exams. 

On July 6, 2023, the transplant finally happened.

“I could see my body one more time receiving its vigor it needed,” Gonzalez said. 

Lorena said she wants others considering donations to know the process did not affect her quality of life.

“People ask, ‘how has your life been?’ It's been the same, you just have to continue taking care of yourself like always,” Lorena said.

The couple is hoping by sharing their story, other people will consider registering to become an organ donor. 

Data shows 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

This week, Channel 5 News is teaming up with the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance to get people registered to become an organ donor. 

It's part of our effort to honor our former sports director, Dave Brown.

As a kidney transplant recipient, Dave was a strong advocate for organ donations.

Click here to register to become an organ donor.

Watch the video above for the full story.

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