UTPB student athlete gifts a second chance at life to older brother

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"Giving him that opportunity to be able to do those things that he couldn't do before is what really drove me to give him my kidney."

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – The special bond between a brother and sister was made stronger for the Hernandez siblings by the gift of second chances.

For The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s senior student athlete, Abby Hernandez, it was a no-brainer that she would donate one of her kidneys to her brother, Oscar, who she says gave her everything.

“He’s taught me everything as far as like sports and, you know, how to be that girly-tomboyish,” explained Hernandez. “They said that it was a small kidney, but it was powerful – that it started working instantly.”

Oscar was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome at just two years old. The diagnosis sent him down years of dialysis and a failed transplant. The whole family was tested hoping to be a donor match, but their prayers were not answered until their youngest, Abby.

“You hear about it, but then when it hits your family, it hits home, you know? So I guess giving him that opportunity to be able to do those things that he couldn’t do before is what really drove me to give him my kidney.”

The two siblings are six years apart in age, but in the era of six feet apart, they have never felt closer.

“The day after the transplant, he did FaceTime me and he was just like, ‘Well I just want to thank you. I just feel super blessed to have you as a sister, and you cannot be replaced.’ We just had like a little moment, and it was very special, because I feel like siblings don’t really have moments like that.”

For Hernandez, she is simply glad it gives Oscar a second chance at life, but for those who know her best, it is yet another reminder of her selflessnes..

“She has a heart that’s clearly, obviously, bigger and way bigger than her body. And bigger than probably five people’s, because she just really, genuinely cares,” explained Hernandez’s collegiate softball coach, Tiala Tagaloa. “How amazing of a thing and how selfless…”

The two siblings have since returned home from the hospital and are in good health. Hernandez says they are back to bickering in true brother-sister fashion.

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