Contractor helps to save boy's kidney transplant

July 8, 2013 8:19:02 PM PDT
An 11-year-old boy desperately needs a new kidney and he's found a match, his dad.

There's just one problem; conditions in their rented apartment are too dangerous for two patients to safely recover from their operations.

But now, someone's riding to the rescue.

The apartment is along Fox Street in the South Bronx.

"This one cuts down on salt and helps to make my kidneys better," said Michael Espada, waiting for kidney transplant.

Michael Espada is just 11 years old, but he knows all about the pharmacy of medicine he needs to keep him alive, the medicine that soon won't be enough to keep him alive unless he gets a kidney transplant. The operation, though, does not scare him.

"Sometimes it goes through easy, just when you don't even think about it, it goes through like that," Michael Espada said.

Michael's father is a perfect match but the operation is on hold. The hospital says Michael's home, with exposed floorboards and rotting wood and mold in the ceiling, would not allow him to recover properly from the surgery.

The new owners of the building say that they want Michael to have his operation, and they say they've put a lot of money into the building to fix it up to make it livable, but when you look closer, you can see the fixes are all cosmetic and there are a lot of issues left.

"Mold is dangerous and I wouldn't put him in here after he got operated," said Deborah Figueroa, a contractor.

Deborah Figueroa does not know Michael, but she knows construction. She owns Carpenter's Daughter Contractors and, just after hearing about how his living conditions were endangering his life, she offered to use her company to repair it all for free.

"She really wants my son to have his kidney transplant and she'll do anything. And she came and she took measurements and now she's going to fix up the place," Michael's mother said.

So why is Figueroa getting involved? She says it's not up to her.

"I do side jobs and whatever God puts in my heart, and he's one," Figueroa said.

"I think that's wonderful," Michael Espada said.

Construction begins on Wednesday and surgery should happen before the end of the summer.