Kidney recipient calls donor hero

September 16, 2011 8:13:36 PM PDT
Two months ago, 12-year-old Jose Castaneda underwent kidney transplant surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. On Friday, the youngster finally met the man who donated his kidney.

Jose was surrounded by his family as he walked down the hallway, excited to meet his donor, John Mastro, and present him with a special plaque that says, "John Mastro: The Amazing Man."

"I felt real excited, real happy to thank him for donating a kidney to me," he said. "To me he means a lot. He is like my best friend that I have never had. He is a hero to me, kind of like Superman."

"That is pretty amazing thing to say. It is really humbling," said Mastro. "I just wanted to do something to help a child out. All I really wanted from this is to meet him and wish him well."

"He is a good soul. He likes to give," said Maria Mastro, mother.

Jose, who is from Aurora, says that one day he was happy and the next he was in the hospital suffering from kidney failure. He had to undergo dialysis three times a week for a year. He says that Mastro gave him back his life.

"He gave me hope. He gave me a reason to live," he said.

Jose is also grateful to his surgeon.

"Jose made it very easy. He was a good patient," said Ricardo Superino, M.D., Children's Memorial Hospital.

"He no longer has to undergo dialysis three times a week, that interrupted his life dramatically," said Gal Finer, M. D., one of Jose's doctors.

Jose is now back in school and doing well. He is full of life and is very grateful to the hospital staff for taking care of him. Both recipient and donor appeared to be inseparable when they met.

"I hope my story would maybe inspire others to do the same thing," said Mastro.

"I am very happy, and I think John is an amazing person. It is wonderful what he did for my son," said Margarita Munoz-Trujillo, Jose's mother.

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