Bloomington, IndianaFor many, December is the month to focus on gifts … those boxed and wrapped in shiny paper and beautiful bows. For one North Carolina family, December is the month to celebrate the ultimate gift … the gift of life. A gift both of their sons have now received from families who during a time of unthinkable sorrow made a life-saving decision.
On Christmas morning, Cisco and Cora Ocampo of Matthews, North Carolina, are going to be sitting around their tree watching the extreme excitement in their two, healthy boys’ eyes while thanking God for the craziness. Only a few years ago, this morning of laughter, shredded paper and unbridled energy was a mere dream.
Cisco and Cora’s second son, Jordan, was born on July 25, 2009. He was a happy and beautiful baby; the Ocampos felt blessed that their family was complete with their little Jordan, and his older brother, Luke. However, at Jordan’s 12-month well-baby check, Cisco and Cora’s world turned upside down when they were told he was in kidney failure. He was rushed to the ICU and placed on emergency hemodialysis. Eventually, Cisco and Cora received special training so that Jordan could receive dialysis at home. Once he was settled at home on dialysis the family started contemplating the inevitable … Jordan would one day require a kidney transplant to be able to survive long-term.
According to Cora, the family had accepted their ‘new normal’ including Jordan’s spontaneous and chronic vomiting due to the affects of dialysis and his feeding tube, the countless checkups emergency hospital visits and the recurring question of whether or not Jordan would ever grow up to run and play side-by-side with his big brother.
After a year of Jordan being on dialysis, the Ocampo family’s transplant social worker recommended they reach out to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) for help with their mounting medical bills.
According to Cisco and Cora, “COTA gave us hope by helping us to plan for the unknown. A social worker referred us to COTA to help soften the financial blow our family was facing, and once we started working with COTA’s professional staff, all of our expectations were exceeded. The hope that COTA gave us helped us navigate the difficult days leading up to Jordan’s transplant.”
Jordan received the best gift ever … the gift of life … on Christmas Eve 2012. According to his parents, it is a gift that cannot be found under the tree. Cisco and Cora will never forget that Christmas Day in the hospital when Jordan woke up from the transplant and they were told his new kidney was working well. Joy does not begin to describe what they felt at that moment.
“We cannot thank COTA enough for the grace they have given us. They have been beside us every step of the way,” said Cora and Cisco. “The miracle for us was to have the opportunity to be part of this legacy that is known as the Children’s Organ Transplant Association. We believe that COTA is the breath that saves lives. It was truly a miracle that we were able to recruit a team of volunteers in a very short time who worked together to raise funds for transplant-related expenses. The outpouring of volunteers and contributions from literally across the world was humbling, and we have been blessed.”
Once Jordan was getting back to ‘normal’ post transplant, Cora and Cisco learned that big brother Luke would need a kidney transplant sooner instead of later. Luke’s transplant occurred on July 4, 2014, and he too is now post-transplant. The COTA in honor of Jordan and Luke Ocampo funds will be with these boys for their lifetimes.
Today, Jordan is strong and energetic … full of life and energy and smiles. He is a gift and a joy for Cora and Cisco, who went from praying that he would live just one more day to now making plans for his future. Luke is also returning to his favorite activities as well. Both boys recently dressed as Super Heroes for Halloween, which is a very fitting description of this Ocampo Dynamic Duo.
According to Cora and Cisco, their overwhelming joy is all due to two amazing families, who during a time of desperation and grief, made the choice to give each Ocampo Super Hero the gift of life. Christmas, and the entire holiday season, will be lively this year for the Ocampo family.
Undoubtedly, Cora and Cisco will welcome the chaos.
For more information about the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, or to find a COTA family in your area, please email gro.a1511548877toc@m1511548877ik1511548877.