LUBBOCK, Texas — At 29 years old, Gabriela Gutierrez of Lubbock faces the hardship of having a disease that affects her quality of life. She shared her story and her need for a living kidney donor.

In August 2022, Gutierrez said she experienced high blood pressure and didn’t know what was wrong. After a series of tests, ending in a kidney biopsy, doctors diagnosed her with Berger’s disease, or crescentic IgA nephropathy.

“My kidneys went from, I would say pretty much the healthiest they’ve ever been to failing,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez has been on at-home peritoneal dialysis since February while she awaits a transplant, which could take months. “Yes, I’m alive” Gutierrez said. “And I’m grateful. But I’m tired, sleepy – I don’t feel good. It’s a lot of work, too.”

Gutierrez expressed that she was “out of options” and hoped people would share her story and take a survey to become a match for her.

The survey is required to rule out diseases that could prevent someone from donating. After that labs are done, and blood and tissue compatibility are tested to determine a perfect match.

“Think about how you can change someone else’s life by doing something so impactful like giving an organ,” said Gutierrez. “It not only impacts my life. It’s gonna impact my kids’ lives, my husband’s life and my friends.”

Gutierrez’ children have been traumatized, she said, after having witnessed their mom have a stroke back in December. “They’re always asking ‘are you ok?’ when I go to the hospital,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez is a firearms instructor and hairdresser, and she expressed aspirations of also becoming a police officer. However, being on dialysis hinders that possibility.

She said after receiving a kidney she plans to be more involved in the IgA nephropathy community and conduct more research into the rare disease. But more than anything Gutierrez said, “I just want to go back to my normal life.”

According to Gutierrez, her family and friends have been supportive in trying to help her get the word out.

Anyone who is interested in become a living donor match for Gutierrez, can follow this link and use the information below:

  • Full legal name: Gabriela Gutierrez
  • Date of birth: 01/24/1994
  • UTSW Dallas campus (not the children’s hospital)