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SA siblings to make kidney transplant a family affair

Arturo Chavarria has waited more than a decade for a new kidney

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Arturo Chavarria is a month away from receiving his second kidney transplant. The donor is his older brother, Hendry.

"I'm happy, excited, scared for my brother. He's never been in the hospital," said Arturo  "I on the other hand have been like, 'Yeah let's do it, cut me open.'"

Arturo's kidneys began failing at age 5. He was put on dialysis at age 16.

"It was hard, sometimes, seeing him struggle," said Hendry. "The changes to his body, you can tell he's a lot taller than me, but when were growing up he was a lot bigger than me because of the medicine he was taking.

At age 19 Arturo's father donated his kidney, but Arturo's body rejected it less than a year later.

Arturo would be on dialysis for the next 11 years, waiting for a donor. Hendry was more than willing to step up, but doctors wouldn't allow it.

"Since my dad's kidney failed so fast they didn't want anybody related to me," said Arturo. For years Hendry felt like he was letting Arturo down.

"I felt like I wasn't doing my part as a big brother," he said.

Determined to find a genetic match, Arturo put his name on three separate donor lists. It wasn't until the family sought a second opinion that Hendry was given the go ahead to donate his kidney. Doctors told the brothers that medical advances give Arturo's body a better chance of accepting Hendry's kidney. The surgery is scheduled for early November. Whether it works or not, Hendry said he's more than willing to make the sacrifice for his little brother.

"Whether it lasts a year, two years, or three years, for that moment it was still worth it for me," Hendry said.

The family will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday at 1607 SW Military Drive to help pay for the surgery and their recoveries.