Tamale vendor searching for living kidney donor for 14-year-old son "No tamales today because I go every Monday to the hospital to bring my son to get his treatment for dialysis," Isabel Mendez said on Tuesday.
NEW ORLEANS — A farmers market vendor who is known for her tamales has posted new signs up on her stands that may save her child's life. Her 14-year-old son is in dire need of a living kidney donor.
Isabel Mendez sells tamales and produces at the Crescent City Farmers Market every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. She's one of the longest-standing vendors there.
"20 years I guess," she said.
Mendez drives more than an hour from Independence to New Orleans three times a week to sell produce, salsa, breakfast burritos, peppers, okra, and her most popular item, tamales.
"No tamales today because I go every Monday to the hospital to bring my son to get his treatment for dialysis," she said Tuesday.
Mendez can't prepare tamales Mondays anymore because as of four weeks ago, her son, Edgar, is on dialysis. The 14-year-old was born with kidney disease, meaning his kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood the way they should.
"His function started going down very quick so they decided to start dialysis for him until we can find a donor because I'm 50 so I'm too old to donate one of my kidneys," Mendez said.
It's not common in children, but in Edgar's case, the disease has led to kidney failure, which means he needs to be on dialysis until he finds a donor. He has dialysis treatment three times a week at Children's Hospital in New Orleans.
"Yesterday when I saw all the nurses getting around him to pump his blood back to him it almost made me scared something is going to happen to him," Mendez said in tears.
The answer to this family's prayers would be a living kidney donor.
"If we can find a kidney a lot of difference. Right now, we have to run three times a week for treatments and when we come home he's very tired. He lays down in the car and like he's a kid," Mendez said.
Edgar's blood type is O+ and his mother and the farmer's market are trying to reach the right person.
"My faith is very strong and I know we have a lot of good people," Mendez said.
For information on seeing if you are eligible to become a matching donor or to donate to help the family's medical expenses, click here: