Sixty-seven-year-old Ramon Luna of Lovell received a special gift of life on Christmas Day — a healthy kidney. Luna who suffers from kidney damage that resulted from several years of battling diabetes, received a long hoped for but unexpected phone call on Christmas Eve, informing him that a donated kidney was available to him.
“He started dialysis and he was on the donor list for about five years,” explained daughter-in-law Jamie Luna. “He wasn’t expecting the call at all. It was a total surprise to him.”
That unexpected call came in the early morning hours just one day before Christmas. The caller informed Luna that he was on “stand by” status for a kidney that was expected to arrive in Denver and that he should be prepared to come to Denver as soon as possible. According to Jamie, the final call came in around 7 p.m. that same evening and Ramon and other family members were on the road a short time later.
His sons Ruben and Ray drove Ramon and his wife Socorra to Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, where they waited for Ramon to have the kidney transplanted later that evening at around 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. The life-changing surgery lasted only one hour and 45 minutes.
“It went very well; the kidney started working immediately,” said Jamie. “Everyone is very tired but very happy and also in shock, since we were not expecting this at all. ”
Jamie said the family was informed that the kidney came from a young donor and is expected to continue to grow and get stronger as time passes. She said Ramon will remain in Denver for several weeks in a special recovery center for transplant patients located near the hospital.
The Porter Transplant Center is one of the leading organ transplant centers in the nation. Its physicians have performed more than 2,000 kidney transplants over the 25 years the program has been in existence.
Jamie said it wasn’t exactly the Christmas celebration the family had planned, but it was much welcomed and deeply appreciated by all.
By Patti Carpenter