Ernie Reyes Jr., popular for his roles on NCIS: Los Angeles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, has undergone a life-saving kidney transplant surgery. Even after the surgery, Reyes’ health is still suffering. For the moment, he’s forced to stay in Phoenix, Arizona for any other tests he might need. All of the post-op procedures have taken a toll on him physically and financially. In fact, his family has recently started a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of his medical bills. According to his sister, the 49-year-old martial artist is “barely able to move.”
He’s been dealing with health issues for over six years. During that time, he’s had to do dialysis three days a week while waiting for a transplant. While in Hawaii, Reyes learned that a kidney had suddenly become available for him. To get it, he had to be in Phoenix as soon as possible. Once there, his surgery was successfully completed. Afterward, he shared his gratitude online for the doctors at the Mayo Clinic.
Unfortunately, he also learned that he had to stay in the area for any future treatments he might need. On his GoFundMe, his sister Destiny writes: “On his road to recovery, barely able to move, it will be a challenging time for him and his family. He now has unexpected living expenses for his stay in Phoenix, and when he returns home. This is especially difficult, considering that he won’t be physically able to work for the next several months, and will be unable to bring in income to support his family while he recovers.”
More than 200 people have already donated to his fundraiser, for a combined total of $21,800. This is almost a third of the way to his goal of $75,000.
Kidney Health Impacts Everyday Americans, Too
A survivor of 9/11 and a 1993 bombing is also dealing with kidney troubles. Francis “Frank” Savio spent 20 years working at the World Trade Center before terrorists attacked the buildings in 2001. During the attack, he was working as a frame technician for Verizon. Before the second plane hit the south tower, he helped a fellow New Yorker exit the building safely.
Now, this selfless human is pleading for anyone to donate a kidney. It would save his life. Now a resident of Monmouth County, New Jersey, he suffers from end-stage renal disease. He was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2017. Although he has undergone daily dialysis treatments at home since then, his condition has worsened.
He’s been searching for a kidney match for years to no avail. He and his family have tried all kinds of things to hopefully find a match. They’ve had T-shirts and posters made and they’ve advertised at their gym and on social media. They’ve even stood in front of where the Today show is filmed, hoping a camera would catch their posters in the background.
Some 30 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from kidney disease. For anyone looking to help Savio, get in contact with the Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation. Since their start in 2008, they’ve facilitated 12 transplants. Cases like Savio’s are a high priority.