Valley organ donors honored

HARLINGEN — “Christopher E.M.,” read the name on the screen.

“Samuel P.G., Maria E.G. …”

These were just a few of the many heroes honored this past week at Valley Baptist Medical Center when it unveiled its Walls of Heroes in Harlingen and Brownsville.

“We’re celebrating the lives of donors and also an appreciation of their loved ones and families that are here,” said Tina Briones, co-chair of the organ donation committee at the Harlingen and Brownsville hospitals.

“Organ donation is very, very important because we have in the state of Texas about 141,000 people that are waiting for kidneys,” she said.

The “Wall” at both VBMC hospitals show pictures of Valleyites who have donated their organs.

Family members of about 20 deceased organ donors were recognized with certificates of appreciation. Jorge A. Garcia, 69, spoke about receiving a kidney.

“My illness began in 2004,” he said. “For nine years I used to go to dialysis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Then at the end of May 2013 my wife and I decided to take a short vacation to San Antonio to visit some classmates of mine.”

And suddenly, a call came through.

“I got a phone call from the San Antonio transplant center telling me there was a kidney for me and how fast could I get to San Antonio, and of course I responded believe it or not I’m here.”

The next morning he came in for tests and soon the operation was completed.

“I want to thank the family who made the difficult decision to donate the organ from the son who passed at the age of 49 in a motorcycle accident in Oklahoma,” he said. “I never gave up because I would think of my family and the will to see my grandchildren grow up.”