Local Latino youth needs your help

By Cris Marshall

On Cinco de Mayo, a day when the rest of us are having a fiesta, Jorge Gonzalez - 15 years old - became very ill. His parents, Alberto and Zenovia, rushed him to the emergency room in Fort Wayne. He was diagnosed with a very serious kidney ailment and was hospitalized for four weeks. He was discharged with the condition that he go to dialysis four times a day. But the worst news of all was given last, Jorge will need a new kidney within a year - or he will die.

Jorge’s father is a roofer by trade. And like many thousands of Hoosiers, their family is uninsured. Since Jorge went into the hospital through the ER, emergency Medicaid picked up the hospitalization and subsequent dialysis treatments, but it will not pay for a kidney transplant surgery.

Jorge and his family, mother, father, sister, and baby brother, went to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. They were told that the surgery would cost $100,000.00. In fact, they must have between $75,000.00 and $85,000.00 just to begin testing and tissue typing to see which of his parents would be a better donor.

Alberto or Zenovia would give a kidney tomorrow to spare their son the agony of enduring dialysis four times a day. Zenovia has been selling homemade tamales for extra money so they can start saving for his surgery. But it will never be enough. Alberto has had a few garage sales - but the profits have been small.

Tuesday, June 24, community members met to discuss how to organize a grassroots level drive to help Jorge’s family raise this insurmountable amount of money to save his life. An account has been established at National City Bank. Anyone can donate simply by walking into a branch of National City and letting the teller know that they want to donate money to help Jorge Gonzalez get a new kidney.


The planning committees are mobilizing. Plans are being made to have soccer tournaments, church events, fiestas, and even a boxing match with trainer Alberto Lozada to raise monies for this child. There will be a letter writing campaign to charitable organizations. A trust fund will be established through the existing National City account with a not-for-profit organization managing it. A local teen has agreed to appeal to other kids on facebook.com and myspace.com to help out. Kids that age tend to “hang together” and have a unique bond with each other.

How can you help? Appeal to your employers, churches, any charitable organization - have them contact a banking representative at National City. This is a 15 year old child with a lifetime of opportunities to contribute to our community. Let’s not lose this life. For any further information, the family community representative is Fernando Zapari who can be reached at 260-704-0682 anytime.

In the picture we see Jorge González wirh his mother Ms. Zenovia during the special meeting called by Fernando Zapari to rise funds to help Jorge with his struggle