Woman waiting for kidney transplant fights for her life


DES MOINES – An Iowa family is doing all they can to find the right match for a transplant.

“You see me and I don’t look sick. I look normal,” said Norma Berber. 

She was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy when she was just 18-years-old. The disease changed her and her family’s life forever.

“In 2010 I had the kidney transplant which my brother donated to me. He was 100 percent a match and I got it,” said Berber. 

For 7 years, the kidney worked with her body. 

“She had the transplant and we were like, ‘Oh she’s better! Then 7 years passed and she has to go through it all over again,” said her sister Luz Elena Berber. 

The kidney transplant failed. Now the 30-year-old is doing dialysis for 9 hours each night just to survive. Norma says she can only last so long doing dialysis.

“Some people say, ‘Well she’s not sick!’ But you don’t know how I feel. I just want to feel normal again. You know, it’s just being tired all the time it doesn’t feel good,” said Berber. 

She has body aches and the need for a transplant has slowly taken a toll on her. But her family is doing everything they can to find her a donor, while she waits on the donor list for 5 years.

“We don’t know what she’s really feeling, but you can just imagine. It’s scary because what if we don’t find a donor and then I lose my sister?,” said Berber. 

The family has done everything from making and selling jewelry to pay for medical bills, to wearing shirts and putting stickers on their cars with Norma’s blood type and a number to call if you’re a match. 

“I pray to find the donor and I know God is with us. She’s everything for me. She’s my daughter. I know she’s older now, but she’s my baby, it doesn’t matter how old she is. We need her,” said Norma’s mother Luz Elena Ramirez.

While Norma fights for her life each day, they family is keeping her close. Hoping someone will come forward soon. 

“He, she, whoever they are. They will be saving her life,” said Berber.

Norma and her family knows that the becoming an organ donor can be scary and there are risks. She encourages you to get tested and talk to your doctor to make sure you qualify. The whole thing would be covered by Norma’s insurance company.

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