Valley family going through a second generation of lifesaving generosity

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The future started looking cloudy for Michael Juarez about a decade ago.

"The doctor said there's not much we can do. These will progress and at that point maybe we can go on medications," said Juarez.

He discovered he had polycystic kidney disease.

"Causes your kidneys to develop cysts and the cysts start growing on your kidneys and pretty much it renders them useless," said Juarez.

The diagnosis came as little surprise. About 200,000 people have it, and it is genetic. Michael's mom had it and so did two of her three sisters.

One of his brothers has it but his cousin Laura does not. Their fathers are brothers and their mothers are sisters.

After dreaming she was supposed to help Michael, she got tested.

When they were supposed to be celebrating his wife's birthday, Laura surprised him with a special message.

"You can't put into words what kind of thing that is when someone does that. How do you react? You know, I can't pay that back," said Juarez.

The feeling is familiar in to the family. Michael's mom and two of her sisters had polycystic kidney disease. The fourth sister did not.

Blanca Ramon donated a kidney to one of her sisters and extended her life by 21 years.

She is helping her daughter conquer the nerves that come before donating.

"You get a lot of courage knowing you're going to help somebody else live a little longer," said donor Blanca Ramon.

"You know, I see her and I'm like 'you know what? It can happen. We can do this. I got this," said

Laura and Michael go in for surgery later this week, and their family set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.

More than 100,000 people are waiting for kidney transplants and without direct donors, they can wait eight to 10 years.

You can be a donor through the DMV or look for someone you match with at the National Kidney Registry.
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