Tucson teen donates a kidney to a toddler

Isaiah Hernandez has endured renal failure, and was weeks away from having to undergo daily dialysis treatments in order to stay a alive.

Tucson teen donates a kidney to a toddler

CREATED May 20, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- A Tucson toddler will get the chance to live a normal, healthy life -- thanks to a teenager.

You might remember KGUN9's story, back in March, of Isaiah Hernandez, who was born with end stage renal failure and was just months away from having to endure grueling dialysis treatments. His mother pleaded for someone to step forward to donate a kidney. Several people did, including 18-year-old Briana Delcampo.
When Briana heard that the tenacious toddler needed a new kidney -- she didn't hesitate to help. "The first thing that came to mind was: I would love to be tested,' said Briana.

She has been a friend of the family for years. She's seen first hand the heartache in the Hernandez household as Isaiah spent nearly all of his life -- in and out of hospitals -- undergoing multiple surgeries. So she wanted to give Isaiah a chance at a normal life. "I've lived 18 years and i've got to do things. I've got to travel and do things that people wish they could do and i just want him to grow up and be able to do the things I did. You know, live a normal life," she said.

Despite doubts from family and friends, Briana was determine to move forward with the tests. "Alot of people asked me, think about it first. Everybody that I talked to.  I was just, 100 percent, told them how I felt. I told them that I wanted to do it. Nobody was going to change my mind," said Briana.

Isaiah was only months away from having to endure dialysis treatments, so time was critical. Even a short amount of time on dialysis could alter normal growth and have devastating long-term affects. Isaiah's mother, Terri Hernandez, told KGUN9 that she "thought it was going to take a while. I didn't think it was going to be as soon as it happened." 

Isaiah's mother, Terri, was relieved when doctors told her, Briana was a perfect match. "I'm very excited, happy. I love her. She's really part of the family now, forever." 

Briana said she's a bit nervous as the operation draws near, but she's thankful for the family's help to get her through it all. "Just knowing that they're all there for me.  And that they're going to support me - just helps me." 

The operation is scheduled for May 29th. Isaiah's mother says her son has just a few more tests to make sure he's ready for the operation.