Emilio lives in Montclair, is ten years old, wild about football and baseball, and about to undergo his biggest surgery yet, to have his father's kidney inserted below his own rib cage. After that he will never be able to play contact sports again, (like many kids he dreams of being quarterback for the Jets) but he will have a chance to live as a regular kid, instead of being a child plagued by illness and emergency room visits. During the lengthy post surgery recovery period, this Montclair family which is already economically at risk due to circumstances beyond their control, will have no income or ability to cover the many costs they will face. I am asking for our village to help these neighbors of ours during their time of greatest need. Please give what you can, and know that it will be received humbly and gratefully.
I met Emilio eight years ago at a Montclair playground. He is close to my youngest child's age, and the first thing I noticed was how curious he was. He made bold eye contact with his big dark brown eyes and long lashes, and politely asked a lot of questions, flashing a variety of hilarious expressions and quick smiles. I chatted to his Dad and discovered his age, and it crossed my mind that Emilio was much smaller than I would have expected. Then I had one of those playground chats that you never forget. Amilio's "Papa", Angel, told me that Emilio had been battling with kidney failure since birth. At that time Angel's greatest hope was that his own kidneys would be a match, and that one day he could give one to his son to save his life. In the meantime, Angel planned to make himself the healthiest man he could be, so that his kidneys would be as close to perfect as possible.
Emilio became pals with my daughter, and was soon a regular playdate. His Mom, Berenice, and I, have spent many good hours over coffee. She has always been strong for her child, but has lived in the shadow of fear for too long. Over the years Emilio has endured multiple surgeries, Vesicostomy closure, feeding tube placement, ureteral stent placement etc. and every night, he receives growth hormones and antibiotics to prevent infections, but sadly he has made many trips to emergency rooms.
Over the years I have waved almost daily to Angel as he runs past my house, training for the various marathons that have become his constant obsession to get his body ready for the biggest day of his life.
That day has finally come. In early July, Berenice will bring her only son Emilio, and her husband Angel, to Saint Barnabas Hospital, where they will both undergo surgeries. They are all scared, and hopeful.
Berenice wants you to know that she is very grateful that her child will have this chance to live a long and healthy life without dialysis. Angel wants you to know that there are thousands of people waiting and hoping for a kidney, but many will not succeed, so please think of them too. Emilio wants you to know that he is not scared, and he doesn't want his Mom to cry.
Please help our good friends, this lovely family, and help me to spread the word amongst all of our neighbors.