Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
Norma Aguilar Flores

     This is Norma Aguilar Flores, age 13, from El Chante. Her father, Ramon, is partially paralyzed, and the family’s only income is from a son who does whatever unskilled work he can get. Norma has severe kidney problems and is waiting for a transplant. The most common cause of chronic kidney impairment in children and young people is an infection of the urinary tract that rises into the kidneys. She also has high blood pressure. 
     Norma’s dialysis can be done at home. Even so, she must travel to Guadalajara frequently for laboratory analyses, radiology, and other medical studies. Besides Norma, we have in the Jocotepec area Felipe, 11, also from El Chante, who is also waiting for a transplant.
     Most of us believe that an organ transplant that miraculously solves all of the patient’s problems. Not so. Norma’s doctors have told her and her mother Elvia that there is such a long waiting list for kidneys that they cannot give her an estimate of when a transplant can take place. Meanwhile, her high blood pressure and kidney impairment have made her feel so weak that she hasn’t gone to school for the last six months. 
     In her case, because of the family’s situation, a kidney donation from a close relative is not possible.  When Norma is finally on a short list for a kidney, she must begin a regimen of anti-immune medicine to keep the new kidney from being rejected, and the family will need a sterile room built onto their house because infection is an ever-present danger due to the weakening of her immune system. She will have to take the anti-immune drugs for the rest of her life.
     In the Jocotepec area, DIF, in conjunction with the municipal public works department, have provided sterile rooms for transplant patients, and Programa Pro Ninos Incapacitados has provided the medical treatment including the expensive anti-immune medicines and frequent pre-and post-operative studies.
     The AMA estimates that "more than two-thirds of patients are alive two years after the kidney transplant with the transplanted kidney functioning normally," and another one-sixth, whose transplants have been rejected, are able to go back into dialysis until another kidney can be found. In the Jocotepec area we have had two patients die, both waiting for a kidney.  It happens that the long wait, even on dialysis, finally leaves the patient without sufficient physical resources to survive an operation.
     Kidney patients like Norma are far more expensive for Ninos Incapacitados than cancer patients, who are in large part subsidized by the federal and state governments. Although dialysis treatments in the hospital are only 50-75 pesos, and often not charged at all, the constant laboratory analyses, studies, medicine, and transportation add up, as do the materials for home dialysis.  Norma, for example, has cost 2,217 pesos for August and 2,289 pesos for September, which will add up to 27,000 pesos a year. This amount will rise when she goes on anti-immune medicine.
     We would like to find among our members, supporters, and friends "special sponsorships," in whole or in part, for these unfortunate kids who have such pain and hardship in their lives. For information about  sponsorships, please contact Robin Lawrason, (tel: 766-3070, email: robin@rob2jim.com), Cam Doherty, Treasurer (tel: 766-5797, email: crjd01@prodigy.net.mx), or Joan Frost, Director (tel:(387)763-0172, email: jfrost44@yahoo.com)