(Read Spanish version here.) Being informed that you require an organ transplant can be a difficult and traumatic experience for anyone. This can be further complicated if English is not your first language, or if you were not born in the United States. The healthcare system in the U.S. is notoriously difficult to navigate. Furthermore, we have seen a magnification of health care inequities as result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In this Hispanic Heritage month series, we will profile several brave individuals who are currently going through the fight of their lives.

As in many communities of color, diabetes and kidney disease are major issues. Especially, with respect to the Hispanic community. individuals are reluctant to seek treatment due to many factors such as language barriers, a lack of access to preventive care, tenuous immigration status as well as a lack of education. In order to ameliorate these inequities, it is imperative that U.S. healthcare providers make a greater effort to engage with the Hispanic community and other communities of color.

Diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease put Hispanic patients at risk for organ failure. We are here to help patients overcome financial barriers if a transplant is needed.

One such patient who is trying to overcome these inequities is Catarino “Scott” Martinez. In July 2021, he was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure after experiencing kidney issues beginning in 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to follow up with a nephrologist. Unfortunately, Catarino’s status as a diabetic, like many other Hispanic individuals, exacerbated his condition.

Catarino currently lives with his wife of three years, Renee, in Colorado. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with family and friends. His motivation to continue to fight during his transplant journey is to see his family continue to grow and thrive.

For more than 40 years, The National Foundation for Transplants has been assisting transplant patients with advocacy and fundraising support. We work with volunteers and supporters to help relieve the burden of expenses for patients such as Catarino. Please help us to continue our mission in the Hispanic community by providing a financial gift today!

Ben Jabbour, Contributor

Ben Jabbour currently works as a Bilingual Fundraising Consultant for the National Foundation for Transplants. He is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in the medical non-profit, community engagement, legal, and compliance sectors. In his current role, he advises patients in accessing critical healthcare services during their transplant journey with a focus on serving the Hispanic community. He has served on non-profit boards helping historically marginalized populations.  Ben holds a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish Language from Vanderbilt University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Serving transplant patients since 1983.