WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Some 19-year-old college students might spend time worrying about the next exam or party, but what about putting your life on the line so you can save another?
Since the age eight, Richard Gutierrez has had to overcome a genetic condition characterized by kidney disease, but through it all, he says his support system was always there.
“Family,” Gutierrez said. “That’s the biggest thing.”
His daughter, Megan, plays softball for the Butler Community College Grizzlies. That’s where she met her best-friend and teammate, Jordan Carlson.
Carlson followed the story of Gutierrez’s medical dilemma.
After a kidney transplant in 2016 failed to solve the problem, Gutierrez took to Facebook to share his story. That’s when the Carlson took it upon herself to help her teammate’s family.
“I was like, I want to do something nice for her, so she could have more time with her dad,” Carlson said. “Because I know that I would want as much time with my dad as possible. So if I can help that, I want to.”
The result was a home run for Carlson. She was a perfect match, and on June 25, Carlson and Gutierrez went into surgery.
“Well, first I was joyful,” Gutierrez said. “I was ecstatic, and then I took a second to look at how old she was, how this could impact her life down the road.”
“I would like to say, I was hesitant to let her do it,” Gutierrez said. “She was so young. She was just starting her life out.”
Gutierrez hopes the kidney will take this time and is grateful for the journey he has begun with Carlson.
“A million times thanks wouldn’t be enough for her,” he said. “She’s my hero. I wouldn’t be here without her.”
To learn how you can help with the medical expenses, head over to their Facebook Page, Support Ru’s Kidney Transplant.