A Miracle for Mom

[Below is an email from my brother, Rallee, describing the fortuitous events this past Memorial Day weekend in regard to my mom’s kidney transplant. We are all thankful and happy.]

Hello everyone,

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Rallee, Raquel’s fifth son. And in case you haven’t heard, my mom received a call at 2:30 am Friday morning letting her know that there is a possible kidney donor, and that she had to go to MUSC at 7:30 am to find out if it is a match. Well it was a match and the following morning, she underwent kidney transplant. As you can imagine, this is far from a simple operation, and a quick and difficult decision was necessary.

The previous email mentioned that she was officially placed on the donor waiting list last month. To get a call back for a donor in such a short time is unprecedented. She even almost did not answer the call because it was from an “800” number! With unending faith in God, she decided to go through with it. As we were waiting for the lab results to confirm a match, we met others at the hospital who had been waiting for years for a kidney.

This is her right before the surgery with the surgeon Dr. Chavin.

When the match was confirmed, it was already night time, and they had to postpone the operation until the next morning. As we went down to the cafeteria we accidentally ran into a Nigerian priest who gave her the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. I myself was quite dumbstruck and chills hit me as I witnessed a sort of experience that I can’t really explain in words. What a miracle it was!

The next morning she went under for the operation, and full of grace, she came out perfectly. Although there was much post-op pain, Mom is currently stabilizing smoothly and the results are better than expected. The attending surgeon came out before schedule without breaking a sweat, with a huge smile, shook my hand, and said “She did great. It was perfect.”

Mom, walking after her kidney transplant.
Mom, walking the morning after her kidney transplant. The transplant unit has a bell in the hallway that patients ring when they walk. Everyone hears it, claps, and cheers. It’s always a joyous and thankful moment, as it is done in honor of the donor.
On the 3rd day.
“On the 3rd day with a crucifix, Liturgy of the Hours and kidney pillow. Blessed be The Lord the God of Israel.” — Raquel V. Balagtas

Now I am very happy to announce to you all that she is recovering well, but please keep her on your prayers because she is not completely out of the woods yet. We will continue to monitor her progress and do what the doctors say so that full recovery is as fast and easy as possible. Thank you, God bless.

Rallee Balagtas
Sent from my iPhone

P.S. If you would like to contact her more efficiently, please call her or tell her personally. Since I have been “in charge” of her phone, I’ve noticed that she has hundreds of unanswered texts and thousands of unanswered emails.


On May 18, 2014, at 8:35 PM, “‘Raquel V. Balagtas’ rvbalagtassc@aol.com ”  wrote:

To dear all,

MUSC informed me last Tuesday, May 12th, that I am now officially in the waiting list for kidney donors (dead donors). This is their shortest list as there are few with AB+ blood type. But it also has few donors for the same reason: few have AB+. The dead donor has to be exactly the same blood type. But the live donor can be any blood type. I think there are 20 ahead of me so it’s going to be a long wait.

I thought I was in the waiting list since October and that’s why I haven’t done any traveling. I have to be ready and within 4 hours of travel time if and when I am called because there is a donor available. Rallee and Jet, I gave your contact numbers in case they cannot connect to me directly. You have to know where I am when they call.

I am also submitting my papers to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville as they seem to be more successful in getting kidney transplants done. We will know the results of Jet’s tests next Thursday. In the meantime, my creatinine, potassium, and hemoglobin are all getting worse.

Your continued kind thoughts and prayers are still needed: strength and courage to accept and surrender, with joy, to God’s will, who is infinitely Good, Compassionate, Merciful and full of Wisdom. He alone knows what is good for me and that’s why, when I am asked how I am doing, I usually say: I am as good as God wants me to be.

Blessings and graces in Carmel!


PS. One of my Carmelite sisters composed a beautiful prayer to Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (a Carmelite nun from France), who died of kidney problems. She needs one more miracle to be canonized a saint.

Please forward this email to others, esp. to my SSC classmates.

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Jet Balagtas

I love code, great design, startups, and solving problems. I believe in contributing to the greater good. Insatiable learner. Entrepreneurial by nature. Marketing DNA.

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