A young woman’s dream of giving back to the community became a reality after meeting the nephrologist she wished for during a surprise Make-A-Wish reveal at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine last week.
Cynthia Reyes met German Lozano-Guzman, M.D., a pediatric nephrologist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, at a surprise luncheon, surrounded by her family and TTUHSC El Paso faculty and staff. After entering the room, it took a moment to sink in, but once it did, her smile said it all.
“I was really surprised! I didn’t know this was going to happen today at all,” said Reyes. “It really hit me as a big surprise to think ‘Wow, this is the wish I’ve been waiting for’.”
Twenty-year-old Reyes was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure at the age of 18. Although Reyes was grateful for the care she received from local nephrologists, she made a selfless request through the Make-A-Wish foundation to bring a pediatric nephrologist to the El Paso community. This wish would provide long-term benefits to children in the region facing a life-threatening kidney disease, just as Reyes did.
“I was very fortunate to be able to make a wish. What I wanted was a kidney, but of course that comes in time,” said Reyes. “But while I was sick, I really learned to appreciate all that I did have and I know others are not as fortunate as me and I wanted to make a difference, so it was an easy choice for me.”
Dr. Lozano Gomez was contacted through the Make-A-Wish foundation and was hired by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to assist in meeting the needs of local pediatric patients.
“I feel admiration for the way her thought process works, being younger and having this mentality to make things better,” said Dr. Lozano-Guzman. “I am honored.”
“We grant wishes for kids between the ages of 2 – 18 with a life-threatening disease,” said Make-A-Wish West Texas Regional Council Chair Charles de Wetter. “She could have gone to Disney World, gotten a car makeover, gone on a trip to Europe, or met any celebrity involved with Make-A-Wish, but she chose instead to be generous and bring a pediatric nephrologist to Texas Tech, and what a great gift that is.”
“Dr. Lozano-Guzman is incredibly kind and fits right in with El Paso. I have no doubt he will achieve many great things,” Reyes said.
Reyes currently attends UTEP and plans to pursue a career in medicine as a pediatric nephrologist.