Jorge Mariscal, his mother and his aunt were on their way to Loyola University Medical Center. It was the moment they all had been anticipating for years and finally it had arrived.
Sonia Lopez was donating her kidney to her 24-year-old son. Mariscal had been on dialysis for seven years and his only obstacle in getting a new kidney was his legal status. After submitting letters to hospital boards, conducting marches and a hunger strike on June 3, Loyola agreed to cover the costs of the transplant.
Here is the story of the long-awaited Dec. 6 surgery.
The Day Before: Jorge Mariscal has dinner at the Tilted Kilt in Schaumburg with two friends from middle school.
After dinner, Mariscal’s friends wish him luck and they say goodbye.
4:30 a.m. Jorge Mariscal and his mother Sonia Lopez make their way toward their black Dodge Stratus to leave for Loyola University Medical Center.
Mariscal’s aunt, a family friend and his mother walk to the surgery waiting room after arriving at Loyola University Medical Center.
Sonia Lopez, left, is comforted by her friend Laura as they make their way inside the hospital. Lopez is donating her right kidney to her son.
Mariscal waits outside the surgery waiting room and sends text messages to his friends to pass the time before the surgery.
5:00 a.m. In the surgery waiting room, Mariscal and his mother continue to wait. Lopez seemed calm, but Mariscal was nervously pacing outside the waiting room.
5:36 a.m. Their names were called and Lopez gets up from her seat to begin the pre-surgery protocol.
Lopez and her sister Norma hug before heading into surgery.
6:03 a.m. Relatives in the waiting room receive a picture message from Mariscal as he and his mother prepare to go under the knife.
8:07 a.m. Friends and family members have coffee and wait.
10:51 a.m. Friends and relatives wait. After more than eight long hours of waiting, the doctor gives them the news: the surgery went well and Lopez is available for visitors.
3:25 p.m. Friends and family make their way up to the seventh floor to visit Lopez in her recovery room. They try to cheer her up, but she tells them not to make her laugh because it hurts too much.
Lopez calls other friends who have been waiting for an update and explains that everything went well.
Lopez’s sister, center, and friends joke about how they should ask the nurse to bring a margarita to cheer her up.
5:06 p.m. A doctor helps Lopez get up from her bed and instructs her to walk around to help her regain her strength.
Lopez struggles to take her first steps post-surgery.
8:04 p.m. Her sister wheels Lopez to the Intensive Care Unit on the fourth floor where her son is waiting.
8:06 p.m. Lopez arrives at her son’s room and immediately tears up. She was filled with joy—the surgery went well.
Lopez thanked everyone in the room for their continuous support throughout the years.
Mariscal thanks his mother for her donation.
Mariscal and his mother share a laugh. “I’m glad I didn’t get your bladder,” he jokes. “She is always going to the restroom.”