SEACAUCUS, NJ — Menchu De Luna-Sanchez was among those honored by President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address.
During Hurricane Sandy, De Luna-Sanchez, together with other nurses, evacuated 20 high-risk babies at the NYU Langone medical center, carried them down 8 flights of stairs in darkness — with only their cell phones to light the way.
Today, this Filipina hero is looking for her own hero that could save her life.
The 61-year-old nurse is suffering from IGA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s Disease – a disease that affects the filters of the kidney that often progresses to kidney failure.
“Na-daignose ako nuong 1994 after naipanganak ko yung bunso namin… nasabi na nila sa akin na in the future you will be needing a kidney transplant, tumatanda na ako.”
That time is now. While she has been on a kidney donor wait list for three years now, both her kidneys are deteriorating.
Over 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant in the US.
Medical experts say she has a better chance of finding a donor from the Filipino community or in the Philippines.
“Mas marami at malaki ang tsansa ko kung ako ay magagwa sa pilipinas, makakauha ng donor duon… kaso mo, yung insurance starting January 1st, 2018 ngayon, hindi nila iko-cover ang insurance ko to the Philippines.”
The transplant surgery alone costs at least a $100,000, or about 5 million pesos.
Her daughter set up a GoFundMe page to raise much-needed funds for surgery in the Philippines.
“Ang pinagdarasal ko ay magkaroon talaga ako ng match na,” says De Luna-Sanchez. “I still have a life to live, after the transplant, I’m so positive na may buhay pa. I will be able to work more, and I will be able to help more, I will do a lot more for the community; hopefully kung mabibigyan pa ng mahabang buhay.”
Potential kidney donors can go to the NYU Langone transplant department and reach out to Francine Orliza for a medical screening.
The Kidney Foundation will shoulder medical costs, transportation, hotel accommodation and even food expenses for qualified donors.