‘I will do whatever it takes’: Family of Bridgeport man hand out flyers on foot in search of kidney donor

Gilbert Villanueva, 59, was surrounded by his wife and daughter on Sunday as the family celebrated amazing news. The Hartford Healthcare transplant team has finally put the beloved grandfather on their transplant list for a new kidney. All the family needs now is to find a kidney donor.

News 12 Staff

Apr 18, 2021, 4:48 PM

Updated 1,188 days ago


A Bridgeport man in need of a kidney got some good news this week, but he still has a major obstacle to overcome.
The family of dialysis patient Gilbert Villanueva says the past three-and-a-half years have tested their faith.
The 59-year-old grandfather goes to a dialysis clinic three times a week as he fights to stay alive while battling end-stage renal failure disease.
"Life doesn't have an expiration date. You could be here today, gone tomorrow. And the biggest fear is getting a phone call saying your dad is gone," says Shamira Ramirez, Villanueva's daughter.
After years of waiting, the family has just found out that Hartford Healthcare has now put Villanueva on their list for a kidney transplant.
Now the family has to find an actual kidney donor.
They're blanketing social media with urgent appeals for help and they're also passing out hundreds of fliers.
"I can't share my spare because I'm a diabetic, but my goal is to find someone for my dad, whether if I have to go from state to state, pass out fliers, I'm going to do whatever it takes. Just like they push mountains and skies, I'm going to do it for him," Ramirez says.
Villanueva says he is sharing his story because he has every faith that somebody will come forward to give him the gift of life so that he can continue to take care of his family for many years to come.
"Pretty soon, we're going to be 40 years together," Villanueva says of he and Edna, his high school sweetheart. He says their love has only grown deeper.
"I want to see my grandkids finish college, get married," Villanueva says.
"This man is my world," his wife says. "I can't imagine life without him."
The family hopes their appeals for help will be wide reaching enough to get the job done.
"We went to Magic Kingdom, where dreams come true, so hopefully my dad's dream can come true," Ramirez says.
The family adds that they can't stress strongly enough the urgency of their appeal.
If you would like to help, you can call (860) 972-9918.

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