McDade ISD helps student in need of kidney donor

McDade ISD is coming together for one of their students currently dealing with kidney failure.

The hallways of McDade Elementary School have been filled with posters for fourth grader Gustavo Espinoza.  

Gustavo was barely 2 years old when doctors diagnosed him with FSGS and kidney damage. At a young age, he had to be hospitalized and get daily dialysis.  

"Gustavo started with us in Pre-K. So, we got to see little bitty Gustavo. And then, in kindergarten, he spent about half that year out of school. To get his first transplant," says Amanda Hankemeier, principal at McDade Elementary School.

Gustavo received his first kidney transplant in 2018, but now that same kidney is failing.  

"I can barely run, and some days I just feel I can't breathe, that it's stopping there. I can't, I can. You just have to lie down. And I do end up getting leg pain and back feet," says Gustavo Espinoza.


Despite his diagnosis, Gustavo tries to keep a positive mindset.  

During the month of March, McDade Elementary School observed kidney and liver awareness month to show they stand by Gustavo as he waits for a new kidney.  

"Two of my favorite teachers. They both outdid themselves. They wore green hair. They painted their nails green, even the eyelashes were green," says Espinoza.

Seeing that he was not alone during this scary diagnosis was overwhelming for Gustavo.

"Makes me feel happy, but also kind of sad because I know they support me, but it also kind of reminds me that I have to do this," says Espinoza.

Gustavo is back on the waitlist for a kidney. After seeing how dialysis took a toll on Gustavo’s body the last time, his doctors recommended for him to stop taking dialysis as they wait for a living donor to match his blood type.

Gustavo’s mom Maria says hopefully, as the community sees and hears about Gustavo’s story, more people will consider being organ donors to save other people’s lives.  

Gustavo says, for now he has to be patient and wait to see if someone will be his match.

McDade Elementary School has set up a link to send the Espinoza family to assist them with groceries, travel expenses, and other essentials as they prepare for Gustavo's transplant process.

For those interested in learning more about how they can help, click here.