​ Mother’s Gift of Love Brings Life

When her only son needed a kidney, Blanca Guzman Gonzalez gave her son the gift of life. 

A year ago Blanca Guzman Gonzalez joined about 15 members of her family for Christmas Eve services at St. Monica Catholic Church. They enjoyed big meal together and shared stories. Then, at midnight they exchanged gifts.

In the back of her mind was this: Her only son, Juan Marin Guzman had just started dialysis. His kidneys were shutting down. Three times a week, Juan visited Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health where he received four hours of dialysis.

This Christmas was different. On November 28, Blanca Guzman Gonzalez donated her kidney to her 18-year-old son, Juan. They arrived at IU Health University Hospital early in the morning with Juan’s sister Blanca Paloma Marin-Guzman, 19 and their father Mario Marin. Both of Juan’s parents were tested as potential donors; his mom was almost a perfect match.

As she prepared for surgery, Blanca Guzman Gonzalez said she was nervous but happy. She wanted only one thing: “For the surgery to be a success.”

Juan gave his mother a quick hug and a kiss before she was wheeled down the hallway and into the operating room. Dr. Chandru Sundaram began surgery at about 9 a.m.

“This operation is a big deal because we are not only taking care of the patient, we are taking care of the kidney,” said Dr. Sundaram. “We want the best possible outcome so we have the most highly-qualified people on our surgical team.”

Next door, Dr. William Goggins was preparing Juan to receive his new kidney. Within a few hours, the organ was ready for transplant. The doctors communicated and coordinated the process down to the second.

“Because they are almost identical genetically this is a great match with less risk of rejection,” said Dr. Goggins. “This kidney could last 30-40 years.”

Nearly five hours after Blanca Guzman Gonzalez was wheeled into the operating room, her son had a new kidney.

“I look forward to Christmas this year with our traditions and that my son is healthy with no more worries,” said Guzman Gonzalez. “I am grateful and thankful to my mom,” said Juan. “It is almost unreal. I have a chance that many other kids don’t have. She’s given me the greatest gift of all.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.