Faced with the prospect of losing her son to a rare illness, a mother from the northern state of Sinaloa has resorted to desperate lengths to pay for the medical treatment he desperately needs: she’s selling one of her kidneys on the internet.
Camelia Luque López of Guasave told the newspaper Milenio that she decided to auction off her kidney on Facebook because she has no other option to raise the money needed to save her son’s life.
Thirteen-year-old José has brainstem glioma, a cancerous tumor on the part of his brain that connects to his spinal cord. Both hemispheres of his brain as well as his nervous system are affected by the rare condition.
After 28 sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to treat the aggressive tumor, doctors managed to stop the lump from growing further but told José and his mother that operating to remove it was impossible. Luque recounted that one pediatrician even told her to entrust her son to San José because he is a particularly miraculous saint.
After consulting doctors at several hospitals, Luque was finally told that there was a possibility that highly specialized surgeons in Monterrey could operate on her son, although the cost of the procedure was prohibitive.
“I would have to move to Monterrey, but they explained to me that it’s a very expensive treatment, more than a million pesos . . . I don’t have that money, my house isn’t worth that [amount] and if I go out to collect money, I wouldn’t raise enough . . . that’s why I said to myself: what do you have? A kidney, you’re healthy, you have to sell it,” she explained.
Despite the sale of organs being illegal in Mexico, Luque said that soon after she put her kidney up for sale the offers to buy it started coming in.
“Up to now, I have 16 [offers]. There are ones from the United States, Guerrero, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Mazatlán, Guamúchil, Sonora and Guasave,” she said.
While she admitted the plan was risky, she was adamant that she would go ahead with it.
“The auction is going to take place when they tell me the total costs, including [his hospital] stay and treatment. I will start a WhatsApp group with everyone who is interested, I’ll set the [starting] price and the auction will start,” she said.
If she runs into problems with authorities, she said she would justify her actions by explaining they are motivated by love.
“I’m conscious that those who make the laws are very good at committing crimes and washing their hands [of them], they have their immunity . . . if they say that I’m committing a crime, I’ll say that mine is an act of love, [that] I’m going to save my son’s life . . .” she said.
The first signs that José was unwell were fever, vomiting, fainting spells and extreme fatigue. This year, he has also lost 10 kilograms and developed a squint in his left eye and a deformation of his mouth. Half his body became paralyzed and he has also shown signs of hydrocephalus, a condition also known as “water on the brain.”
Despite his plight, José remains optimistic.
“I want to grow up and become a doctor to help other kids like me,” he said.
With his mother’s courage, help and kidney — and the expertise of surgeons in Monterrey — his dream may well come true.
Source: Milenio (sp)
UPDATE Nov. 25: Camelia Luque has created a Facebook page called Juntos por José where banking details have been provided for anyone who wishes to make a donation.