Va. businessman hopes to find lifesaving kidney for employee

Eduardo Barahona has worked for Harry Braswell’s remodeling company in Alexandria, Virginia, for 14 years. For two years now, 38-year-old Barahona has been working while knowing that his kidneys are failing.

“He is a straight shooter, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke … From what I know, it’s through no fault of his own that his kidneys have slowly gotten to the point where they have failed and he needs a kidney transplant,” Braswell said.

Braswell is now working for Barahona in the off-hours, trying to do everything he can to find a donor for the father of a 10-year-old girl. Barahona has been on the list for a kidney at Fairfax Hospital for more than a year.

Braswell is hoping the public can help.

Eduardo Barahona and his 10-year-old daughter. (Courtesy Harry Braswell, Inc.

In a lot of cases like this, a family member might step up to donate, but Braswell said Barahona’s only brother was killed by gangs in El Salvador. It’s left Barahona with few options beyond spending years on the donor waiting list hoping his name gets to the top.

“It’s been going on two years and as I understand it — as we’ve been told by the hospital — when people need kidney transplants they have between five and seven years. At that point it gets extremely desperate,” Braswell said. “I feel like this is kind of a critical time to really have something going to try to get him a donor.”

Worried he might run out of time, Braswell said he tried to offer up his own kidney but was unable to do so.

“I thought this was something I can do to give my life a little bit more meaning. I think there’s people out there who probably should feel the same way. I’m hoping someone listens to that,” Braswell said.

Braswell stresses that advances in modern medicine have made procedures like this somewhat easier and more routine at the same time.

He said the initial round of tests to see if someone qualifies can usually be done with minimal effort on your part — a quick drawing of blood and then providing urine samples.

Braswell concedes this sort of decision can be very difficult, but calls organ donation a “significant thing to actually affect someone’s life, to actually say ‘Ya know, I really did something.’”

“I just hate to see someone who’s in this position to not get some help. He’s worked so hard. He’s just a great guy. I feel obligated to do something for him.”

Anyone considering becoming a potential donor should contact Kirsten Curtis at Inova Fairfax Hospital at 703-776-8053.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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