María José Dialysis

My name is Karli. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer living in Guatemala with a wonderful host family.

My host mom’s niece is named María José, or Majo for short. She is 14 years old. She and her dad live with us. In all, I live with my host mom, her sister, brother, their mother, and María José.

Last week María José was complaining of stomach pain, so my family brought her to the doctor in the city near where we live. After a full day of running tests on Thursday, the doctors determined that her red blood cell count was very, very dangerously low. Ultrasounds indicated her kidneys were half the size of what they should be for a girl her age. In fact, her kidneys were working at about 10% of what they should be working at. No one knew she had been ill, or that all her life her kidney health was slowly degrading.

At the end of Day 1 it was obvious this was an emergency situation. The doctor had my family return home. Day 2, Friday, and my family returned to the doctor. The doctor was unavailable. They were not able to obtain the referral they needed to enter the hospital, where María José could receive dialysis. At the end of the Day 2 my family returned home with medicine. They were to wait until Monday to return to the doctor where they would get the referral to the hospital, to eventually get dialysis. At this point it was unclear when María José would get dialysis. Most likely, Tuesday or Wednesday (Day 6 or 7).

I have a cousin who is a nurse practitioner specializing in kidney care and nephrology, with 18 years experience. On Friday night I sent her the lab work and she immediately said treatment could not wait. That this was life or death. That the only reason María Jose was alive was thanks to her youth and strength. Thanks to her help and the help of my parents, I decided that Saturday morning I would look into all possibilities that existed to help my family.

Saturday, Day 3, we arrived to the emergency room. With the help of some influential doctors that I knew, we were able to get in, get a bed, and get her name on the treatment list. Thirteen hours of waiting and a catheter was put in. She was to receive dialysis on Sunday morning, Day 4. This was significantly better than Tuesday or Wednesday.

We are currently on Day 5, Monday. She will receive a second dialysis treatment today, and a third tomorrow, in order to regulate her body and bring her back to a safe and healthy state.

I am creating this GOFUNDME to benefit María José and my family, as there is a very long road of dialysis ahead. We do not have many blood relative options available, as she was adopted. Getting organ donations here is incredibly challenging. The only option in the future may be traveling to the United States where she may receive an organ through an international organization. But this is in the long term future. The money raised in from this GOFUNDME will help pay for medication, gas, travel, food, as well as extra treatments that she may need that may be better offered in a private hospital as opposed to the public hospital. If there is a possibility in the future, this money may also go toward paying for health support in the United States or in another country, such as Mexico.

This GOFUNDME account is organized by my family in the states to benefit my host family in Guatemala. This funding is in no way associated with an external organization, nor an external project.


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Karli Lawson 
Cassadaga, NY
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