Can heroism be taught or is it something that you’re born with? Turns out, brave acts of sacrifice can be hiding everywhere, in everyone, and in the most unexpected places.
Mariana Villareal, a waitress, didn’t hesitate to offer one of her kidneys when a customer mentioned in passing that he needed a transplant.
Don was a longtime customer to the Roswell, Georgia location, and his diagnosis didn’t look good. Without a single functioning kidney, he could expect to live at most two years using standard dialysis treatments.
To add insult to injury, he was sitting at the bottom of the donor list and his chances of climbing it in time were incredibly slim.
“Mariana was only there for a short time,” Don mentioned, “I barely knew her when she made the offer.”
After Don mentioned it, and without missing a single beat, Villareal quipped, “Well, I have two functioning kidneys, do you want one of mine?”
It’s fair to say that Don was completely shocked, breathless and unable to answer for a moment. The offer would enable him another chance at life.
He managed to muster up a reaction after the disorientation went away and gratefully accepted Villareal’s offer at the location that same day.
What Don didn’t know, was that Mariana’s grandmother had passed just a year earlier due to kidney failure.
After that experience, Villareal felt that she had a spiritual calling in life. When Don mentioned his plight, she couldn’t just not do something about it. This was a sign that it was her time to act bravely.
Mariana wasn’t able to do anything for her grandmother back then. If she could extend Don’s life even two short years, and if it meant Don had a greater quality of life, then it would be worth it for her.
According to the National Health Institute, it’s possible to live a healthy and full life even with just a single kidney.
“Most don’t know that your life expectancy remains the same after losing a kidney, and it does a whole world of good for the person receiving one,” Chris Bond from the Georgia Piedmont institute expressed.
Villareal is very hopeful that her sacrifice will motivate others to donate their organs to those in need.
Don expressed that there was nothing abnormal about their story. He and Mariana are just two regular people who happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Due to Villareal’s selfless act, Don will be able to live a happy, full life, surrounded by family and friends, and able to pursue his career again.
Don still regularly visits the location to visit Mariana. In the most unlikely place, a special bond was formed between them.
What would you do if you knew you were in a position to help someone in need? Villareal’s story reminds us to be awake and aware to the possibilities of acting heroically in our own neighborhoods.
Let’s hope that he leaves a hefty tip every time he visits the Roswell location!