Being thankful has a whole new meaning for a pair of north suburban siblings.
A Gurnee woman no longer needs dialysis thanks to her younger brother's ultimate gift.
“I was tired all the time, I was exhausted” said Lisa Serrano.
Every other day— three and a half hours at a time— 22-year-old Lisa Serrano underwent painful dialysis in order to keep her alive once her kidneys stopped working.
“The worst part was having to be in dialysis for most of the week,” she explained.
Little did the mother of four know that the solution would come from someone very close to her.
“It was a lot of pressure at first because it was obviously like intimidating for me to be like, ‘oh, I’m the person who has to donate my kidney,’” said Vicente Serrano, the victims’ brother.
After narrowing down a list of about 25 people, Lisa’s 19-year-old brother was the one to ultimately save her life.
“I was happy to have somebody but I was scared because he’s younger than I am,” Lisa said.
On Nov. 5, both siblings underwent surgery and became Northwestern Medicine’s 5,000th kidney transplant.
Doctors say the kidney started working immediately, instantly doubling her life expectancy.
“This is one of the best donors a person can have,” Surgeon Daniel Borja said. “Young donors, teenagers, a person in their 20s.”
Although Lisa will have to take medication and there’s still a risk of infection, the improvement in her quality of life has left her pretty speechless.
“I can’t even explain it, it’s something special to know that I have somebody like that in my life who is willing to do such an amazing thing,” she said.
This Thanksgiving holiday, for the Serrano siblings, being thankful is an understatement.