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Unlikely friendship develops through caring

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Posted: Sunday, July 5, 2015 12:15 am

Christin Timmons and Starla Tavarez, nurses at Medical Center Hospital, have walked the same halls for almost two decades.

They knew of each other in that time, but it took a 10-year-old boy and the spirit of helping to bring them together and create a connection that will last a lifetime.

Ethan Tavarez, Starla’s son, was diagnosed with Vesicoureteral Reflux at a very young age and was in need of a donor kidney by the time he was 9.

In 2014, after his mother heard the news, a Facebook message was posted by Starla looking for donors to get tested and see if they could help her son. Then fate intervened as the post made its way around the internet until it finally reached Timmons.

“I saw it and automatically knew it was meant to be,” Timmons said. “We are nurses so we have this desire to help people, but I also have a young boy so I knew that if I was in that situation I would want someone to help.”

Timmons got tested and was a match with young Ethan, whose health was declining drastically. So the families made their way up to Boston to begin the process of taking Timmons’ kidney and implanting it into Ethan.

Fortunately for both families the procedure was a success but the pain was not over for Timmons or young Ethan.

Ethan recalled a number of things he didn’t like about the procedure and the recovery process.

“I remember getting poked a lot, but when I woke up I was happy and I said ‘am I done already?’ ” Ethan said. “Surgery was the worst.”

Yet it was a much different pain that his mother and Timmons felt after the surgery.

“It was just very emotional time and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” Starla said. “But a lot of good things came out of the bad.”

Timmons was sore from the procedure for some time, but seeing the 10-year-old still in pain after the surgery is what hurt her the most.

“It was really hard to see him hurting because we had kind of convinced him that he would be better as soon as the surgery was over,” Timmons said. She said she tried to make it over to see Ethan as much as she could, but seeing him in pain made it harder to come back each time.

It got harder before it became easier but as time went on Timmons and Ethan started to make a recovery and the families began to transition back to their normal lives.

Timmons was able to return to Odessa and get back to work while Ethan stayed in Boston near the hospital for another six months.

“The wifi for my Xbox was really bad,” Ethan said recalling his recovery, “and I really missed Taco Villa.”

As Ethan’s recovery progressed the avid baseball fan was able to go see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park and could be the source behind the longest home run hit at the iconic field.

Ethan had a chance to meet all of the Red Sox players and even sign the bat of first baseman Mike Napoli. Napoli then hit four home runs in three games, one of which was one of the longest recorded home run ever at Fenway Park.

Ethan became the talk of the town, was on SportsCenter, and even in the Boston Globe, but all the 10-year-old wanted to do was to come home and “hangout with Hayden,” Timmons’ young son.

The Tavarez family is back in Odessa as Ethan continues his recovery but the connection built in the past year is one Timmons and Starla said will last a lifetime.

“We are good friends and they are really part of our family, there will always be a connection between us now, and I just can’t thank Christin enough. She saved my baby,” Starla said.

Ethan has other plans for his recovery period, which includes, “playing baseball, soccer, riding my bike, and spending time with Hayden,” but said he will always be thankful for what Timmons and her family were able to do in his time of need.

Odessa, TX

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