Asking for a Chance at Life

We first aired this story on Eyewitness News at Noon on Monday; we received calls from people interested in helping this woman. We decided to post her story on our website in the hopes she gets the kidney she so badly needs.


(KVOA in TUCSON, AZ) - A 34-year-old Tucson woman who has been on the organ donor list for six years is taking her future in to her own hands. She is making efforts to find a stranger who will donate a kidney so she can live.

Jenny Cervantes has painted her rear and side view windows of her SUV with words explaining her need for a kidney, along with her phone number. 

“Every time my phone rings, it freaks me out a little bit,” said Cervantes, who is healthy and hopeful despite her circumstances. 

Jenny works full-time and is able to do dialysis at home. She has to hook up at seven each evening and UN-hooks at five in the morning. With her full-time work schedule, it leaves her only an hour of personal time each day.

Jenny discovered her kidney was not functioning as a teenager at a routine visit to the doctor. She was not experiencing symptoms that would have warned her that something was not right.  In due time, she found a kidney donor. 

“I actually got a transplant in 2008,” said Cervantes. “But that unfortunately failed in 2011 because I got sick with the flu and started throwing up.  I awns’t realizing I was throwing up my medication -- my anti-rejection medication.”

Cervantes has been on the organ donation list for six years, but has not had any luck. She is concerned because she explained that after seven years of dialysis, her life expectancy is expected to go down. She needs a miracle to happen this year to live a full life.

Her schedule for dialysis means she has missed out on family vacations and gatherings. Maintaining a social life is difficult. She is not allowed to swim due to a chance of infection. She also said she misses seeing the sun set. 

With such limited time in her daily schedule, she has not been able to pursue her education goals. She hopes to eventually become a nurse.

“Taking care of others kind of makes me feel good about my situation,” said Cervantes. “Giving back for all the years I’ve been taken care of.”

The thought of how she will react when she gets the call that she has a new kidney is overwhelming. “It would mean the world to me,” she says between tears. “It’s a chance to live.”

Jennifer’s insurance will cover costs for both surgeries. You can reach Jenny at 520-979-2481. She needs a kidney with blood type B or O. A paired exchange is also possible. 

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