WAGGA’S Rex Flores was knocking on death’s door.
His kidneys shut down and his doctors scrambled to determine the cause of a fluid that unexpectedly filled his heart.
“I could have been gone - or maybe I would have gone to the Philippines to await my time there,” he said.
The grim reality of his medical emergency was compounded by his migrant status, with no claim to Medicare benefits.
He needed a miracle and it came in the form of his brother, Rowell, who was flown to Australia by community groups to donate his kidney.
Rex was due to arrive in Sydney to receive the kidney, but the fairytale ending screeched to a halt when his heart was overcome by a water bottle’s worth of fluid.
With no known cause of the fluid, doctors were reluctant to operate.
“Rowell has his kidney removed then they bring Rex in. If he dies, Rowell has lost a kidney for nothing - and that’s on the cards,” Graeme Callander of Wagga Rotary Club said. “One of the doctors didn’t want to do it at all and another said ‘yeah, we’ll go ahead’.”
Mr Flores was taken to Sydney via air ambulance for the life-saving treatment. His brother made the ultimate sacrifice.
Rowell returned to the Philippines with his mother following postoperative treatment last month. After months confined to a bed, Mr Flores is spending his first days back in Wagga this week.
“He was so brave,” Mr Rowell said of his brother.
“We’re not really close but with this kind of situation we look out for each other.
“It was hard but we did it.”
Mr Flores, who is keen to pursue simple pastimes such as fishing, said he was indebted to all the people that granted him a new lease on life.
“You get inspired by these people,” he said.
“They’ve let me move forward with my life.”
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