The Carrasco family is on a mission to spread awareness about kidney disease, specifically the genetic disorder Polycystic Kidney Disease (PDK). Beatrice “Molly” Carrasco, 78, and her husband Pete, 80, were stunned by her unexpected diagnosis of PDK years ago, but were reassured by her physician that her kidney function would deteriorate very slowly and she would likely die from a stroke, heart attack or some other disease.
In March of 2016 their ray of hope was dashed when her nephrologist informed them that Molly’s kidney function was so low that she would require dialysis, which she began in September that year. Today Molly undergoes peritoneal dialysis five nights a week at home as she awaits a living kidney donor.
“I have to be strong for her, it’s just her and I now,” said Pete, who has been married to Molly for 58 years. “I tell her that I am with her all the way, and that the dialysis will buy us a lot of time while we wait for a kidney.”
For Molly and Pete the most heartbreaking aspect of their journey was discovering that their three children had inherited the disease – Patricia received a kidney from her cousin in 2011; their son Pete’s kidneys are still functional; but their youngest daughter, Stephanie, is preparing for dialysis. Tragically Patricia and Stephanie have passed PDK down to their daughters as well.
Molly and Pete are grateful for being connected with Dr. Anjay Rastogi, a professor and Clinical Chief of Nephrology at UCLA in 2016 for being instrumental in putting their fears to rest and restoring hope. It was Rastogi who assured the Carrascos there was plenty of time to be on dialysis, and encouraged them to educate themselves about PDK, which they did and found extremely helpful in subsiding some of their angst.
Molly is on the donor list at UCLA and Scripps in La Jolla; Stephanie will be eligible to be placed on a list once she begins dialysis.
“I have faith in Our Heavenly Father. I know that He will provide me with a kidney donor,” Mary shares on her website www.kidney4grandmamolly.com. “Kidney donors are caring, generous, loving and special individuals sent by God to provide a ‘daily’ dose of life to their recipients.”
This Sunday, June 3, the Carrasco family will once again participate in the annual UCLA Kidney Fair and encourages the community to join Team Molly. The fundraising event brings hope to patients and provides the latest resources, research and information on kidney disease, care, transplantation, diet and more. There will also be a special KIDney section for the little ones.
The fair will take place on Sunday, June 3, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Santa Monica Beach Park #1, Ocean Park Blvd. and Barnard Way, Santa Monica 90405.
Those interested in becoming a prospective living donor, please complete a confidential, online health history questionnaire at www.uclakidneydonor.org or contact the UCLA program by telephone at (866) 672-5333.