Welcome to Team Mayo's Liver Life Walk Page!
Thank you for your interest in supporting our Liver Life Walk team!
To make a donation to our team, locate a team member from the list below and click her or her name to visit their Personal Fundraising Webpage. Once there, select the "Donate" button and follow the instructions to make a donation.
My name is Cesar Alvarez; I was born and raised in Southern California. My parents always taught my brothers and I to help those that couldn’t help themselves. To always lend a helping hand and never forget where we came from. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t dream of becoming a Fireman. In High School I joined the Explorer Program for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. This was a program that was geared for kids 15 ½ to 21 years of age that had an interest in becoming Firefighters. For the next 3-1/3 years I did Ride-Along’s, Training and Special events for the Fire Department. My faith was sealed. I was to become a Firefighter. It was no longer just a dream, it was a calling.
After graduation from High School I received a 4-year Scholarship to attend Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. I studied Commercial/ Fashion photography. During my third year of college I took the test for the Los Angeles Fire Department. I passed the test and was placed on a waiting list. I went on to graduate college. I had a job coming out of college with a top commercial photographer in Hollywood, CA. For the next year I had the opportunity to work on several ad campaigns for print and television.
Almost a year to the day after graduation I received my letter from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, indicating I was being offered a job. I would soon start the academy. Graduation day came and my dream had become a reality. I was now the proud holder of my very own Firefighter badge, number 1047. My family and close friends were there to help me celebrate that glorious day. I went on to work 20 plus years as Firefighter while doing my photography on the side.
The greatest part of being a firefighter to me was being able to make a difference in people’s lives day in and day out. In 2006 I suffered an on duty accident. I underwent several surgeries for my injuries and spent time being hospitalized. During this period of time, I consumed lots of anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications. As a result of my injuries, I was given a disability retirement. Most people would think that I would be angry that I had to retire at such a young age but, that wasn’t the case with me. I had fulfilled a dream and had lived that dream for nearly twenty-three years. Being angry would be selfish in my eyes.
My wife and I moved to Peoria, AZ shortly after and bought a new home. As we all know having a new home means lots of hard work in getting things just right. We went to work on our house right away. As a few months passed, I started noticing how tired and weak I was. I had no energy whatsoever. I would fall asleep everywhere. Soon after, I saw a doctor and was advised that most likely it was just depression from having to retire. As time went on my skin color and the color inside of my eyes started to get real yellow. That’s when I went to see Dr. Mahesh S. Mokhashi, a liver specialist here in the city of Glendale, AZ. Soon after, Dr. Mokhashi diagnosed me with NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis liver disease). I started to do research on NASH and was told I was now in need of a liver transplant. I went to Mayo Clinic and underwent a full week of testing and was placed on the transplant list.
For the next six months I started to get even worse. In late August, 2010 I became very ill and was brought to Mayo Clinic to spend the next two months waiting for a donor. My condition continued to worsen by the day and my kidneys also started to shut down. By mid-October 2010, my MELD Score was now 39 and climbing.
On October 19, 2010 I underwent the transplant with a final MELD score of 41. I remember waking up in ICU and hearing people talking to me, even though I could not open my eyes I could hear myself laughing very hard. Once I was able to open my eyes everything in the room seemed brighter and clearer. I remember being real hungry and asking the doctor if I could go home. After I was discharged, walking into the house seemed so different. I was alive and I knew I had been given a second chance and it felt so good.
It’s now been three years since my transplant and things are moving right along. It almost seems like a lifetime since it all happened. Today, I’m on a path to help others by donating my time to Dona Vida Arizona and Donate Life of Arizona. I have had the opportunity to speak at a few events and talk with other recipients and families of donors. All the people that I have met so far have been amazing. My life has done a 360-degree turn. I might not be out there responding to 911 calls any longer but I’m still helping people and that makes me feel very happy. I’m a very strong believer in karma. As a Firefighter I always made it a point to treat people with dignity and respect, no matter who they were. The one thing that I will never forget was the way I was treated at the Mayo Clinic. From the housekeepers that kept my room clean; to the ladies that brought my meals to me every single day; to the technicians that did all the scans and lab work, to the nurses that watched over me 24 hours a day and to the doctors who made it their mission to save my life. Even though I was so sick, I knew inside that they truly cared and that alone, made me want to fight even harder to stay alive. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t think of my donor and his family, the real hero of all of this!!! God Bless you my brother.
Words I live by:
You have never walked in that mans shoes before or seen things through his eyes.
Or watch with helpless hands as the heart inside you dies
So help your brother along the way no matter where he starts
For the same God that made him, made you too, these men with broken hearts
|Team Mayo - Join Team||Raised|
|Tod & Sally Lashway||$820.00|
|Denotes a Team Captain|