In 2003, Marta Azmitia began to suffer the loss of her daughter. The neurologist told Marta that Ana Lucía had reached a critical point on the Glasgow Coma Scale.*
Knowing Ana Lucía’s condition, Marta had to make an extreme decision: she chose to give the authorization to donate her daughter’s organs to people in need. Regrettably, for medical reasons it was not possible for Ana Lucías organs to be matched with donors; however it would have been the first such donation in Guatemala.
This was the first great step along the path of love and tenacity that would lead to the DONARÉ Foundation.
The DONARÉ Foundation** began in 2004, thanks to an idea that had been percolating between Marta Azmitia and her friend Mayra Gabriel, who had been at her side through the pain of the loss of Ana Lucía.
They wanted to help all of the other mothers and caregivers finding themselves in similar situations, because they understood the traumas that were caused by such a loss and the scars the tragedy left behind. Taking another great decision, Marta Azmitia and Mayra Gabriel decided to spread the word about organ donation.
In April 2004, they began to set up the foundation. At that time in Guatemala, the topic of organ donation felt like a taboo subject. So, the first steps were to visit hospitals and see what was needed. Then, the foundation looked for the support of businesses to help them equip hospitals. They gained the approval of the Cervecería Centroamericana, one of the largest breweries in Guatemala.
Now, the foundation not only has achieved its objective of spreading awareness about organ donation, but is also achieving its objective of supplying hospitals with much needed support.
Even taking into consideration the fact that transplant procedures are extremely expensive, the foundation has managed to give Guatemalan transplant patients viable alternatives and ways to overcome their often precarious situations.
Marta’s dream is that, one day ALL kinds of transplants will be possible in Guatemala, and even more importantly, that ALL PEOPLE in Guatemala can access this service with the highest standards of quality and without discrimination against their race or social or economic class.
Since the passing of transplant laws, the foundation has also created programs through which it can receive donations that patients can use to help counter the high monetary costs of transplant procedures.
One of the dreams the DONARÉ Foundation has already made come true for Guatemalan patients is the implementation of bone marrow transplants. The DONARÉ Foundation will continue in its fight to obtain resources by knocking on doors such as the Fundación Azteca, which interests them because of its cutting edge humanitarian work, and potential collaborations with the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard University.
* The Glasgow Coma Scale was designed to evaluate the level of people’s consciousness. It was created in 1974 by Bryan Jennett and Graham Teasdale from the Institute of Neurological Science at the University of Glasgow. They intended it to be a tool for the objective analysis of the state of consciousness of patients who had been victims of a brain trauma. The precision and relative simplicity of the scale meant that later it could be applied to other uses, both in cases of trauma and of no trauma.
**Donaré means “I will give/donate” in Spanish