World Kidney Day

Today has been such a great day.  Jerran was able to go home after walking several laps with Garrett.  Garrett likes to walk to the other side of the floor because its soooo much cooler.


To top it off today is WORLD KIDNEY DAY! Have an extra glass of water or cranberry juice and think of Garrett and Jerran.

First full walking lap for Garrett

Garrett’s just completed his first full lap walking around the transplant floor. So important to his recovery from the actual surgery!

We kind of want Jerran to stay so he can motivate Garrett to push through! But he’ll be Facetiming from home to stay close as they recover.

The receptionist from his Kaiser dialysis clinic stopped in today to check on everyone. Liz said she was a bright spot in those tough visits. 

We also had a visit from the UCSF case coordinator, Diane, who was the friendly voice on the phone for months and the one that first told us in the pre-op visit a couple of weeks ago that Jerran had a super-kidney.

So grateful.

Goals for today: get Garrett’s blood pressure down, eat solids

Garrett had a much better night. He was moved to a single room yesterday which made it possible for Liz to have a fold out bed, so they both had a better night.

Garrett’s blood pressure has been high so they’re watching that carefully and have given him both intravenous and oral medication to control it. 

He’s got several goals today, including taking in solid food.

He says he feels ok. His biggest pain is the gas that’s trapped in his body left over from the procedure they use to expand the surgery site to make it easier for surgeons to maneuver.

So we need more walking for that gas to work it’s way out.

Jerran passed gas like a champ all night. He’s never been so proud! UCSF staff keep telling us they celebrate it around here! Surprised that didn’t make the news.

We’re hopeful Jerran will go home today, but probably not too soon. It’s almost 10:00 am and the doctors haven’t rounded on him yet so we’re just focusing on walking and he’s just cleared for solid food so he’s getting ready to order up a little something.

Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see Jerran’s incisions. But some of you might be interested in what it looks like after donating. There are extra markings, but the incisions are four small horizontal cuts in an “L” shape down his  left side, then a bikini-line horizontal incision right across where you see the top of his pajamas.

You are created for something extraordinary: News coverage from last night

There was a flurry of press activity at the hospital last night. Everyone was in great spirits.

Here are a few links to some of the coverage.

Jerran says in the NBC piece, “I believe I was created for something extraordinary. I believe we all are.”

Our hope is that it inspires people to become living donors, or do any little extraordinary thing they can today.




San Mateo County Correctional Officer DonatesKidney To Co-Worker’s Son 
CBS Local – 13 hours ago 
Garrett Ramos, 19, was suffering from full kidneyfailure as a result of a condition called IgA Nephropathy,… 
San Mateo County Sheriff’s officer donateskidney to co-worker’s teenage son 
KTVU San Francisco – 18 hours ago 
SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. — At 14 years old, Garrett Ramos was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, an immune system… 
“It Felt Like What I Was Supposed to Do”: San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy  
NBC Bay Area – 9 hours ago 
… Ramos, wanted to give one of his kidneys to his son, but after months of testing doctors said it would not… 
Deputy donates kidney to co-worker’s teen son 
San Mateo Daily Journal – 3 hours ago 
Jerran Higgins and Gary Ramos started as casual work acquaintances with a few things in common; both are fathers and… 
Officer donates kidney to Fremont teen – 14 hours ago 
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Garrett Ramos is recovering in a San Francisco hospital Wednesday after undergoing… 
Kidney transplant bonds Peninsula friends for life – 5 hours ago 
SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) –. Two Peninsula families consider themselves one big family after akidney… 
Lawman Gives Kidney to Co-Worker’s Son, Then ‘They Both Cried … Cause – 13 hours ago 
San Mateo County sheriff’s correctional worker is being praised as a hero for a life-altering decision and… 

Garrett looking and feeling better!

What a difference 12 hours makes!

Garrett has been perking up by the hour, and it doesn’t hurt that he was switched to oral pain meds, which manages the pain more consistently than the pump.

Gary, Liz and Garrett met with the pharmacist for over an hour this morning getting educated on his new medication routine.

While Garrett has been on a multitude of meds for years, these meds require even more vigilance to prevent rejection.

Everyone has tried to impress on him the responsibility that comes with a new kidney, including Jerran, who gave him a big talk about how he expects his kidney to be treated.

Garrett and Jerran had lots of visitors tonight, including news crews who wanted to spread the inspiring story.

Jerran is still on liquids only, but is likely to go home tomorrow after some solid food. Garrett’s goal now is to get some rest tonight, get on solid food tomorrow, and walk, walk, walk! Walking keeps fluids off the lungs and circulation flowing normally.

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Officer Gives the Gift of Life to Coworker’s Teenage Son

The Sheriff’s Office, where Gary and Jerran work together, distributed a news release today with this inspiring story.

Not mentioned here, but hopefully in resulting news coverage, is the fact that dozens of deputies and correctional officers, including several sergeants, have signed up to work Jerran’s shifts for him so that he can recover without losing income or depleting his own sick time. That’s six weeks of work covered by their law enforcement brothers and sisters who just want to do something to help.

“I am humbled by the generosity of people,” Jerran said.

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Office

400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063

Dep. Rebecca Rosenblatt
650-363-4800 (office)
650-421-1243 (cell)



Incident Date and Time:


Tuesday, March 10, 2015
San Francisco, CA

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Officer
Gives the Gift of Life to Coworker’s Teenage Son

At 14 years old, Garrett Ramos was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, an immune system disorder that can result in
kidney failure when met with a virus or bacterial infection. This year, at 19 years, he found himself in full kidney failure
and spending up to 15 hours a day first on a manual dialysis and then on an automatic dialysis through the night.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending and due a life-altering gift from one San Mateo County Correctional Officer.

Last summer, Garett’s father Gary; a Sergeant with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, was in the process of donating
his kidney to Garrett, but some minor health issues disqualified him. He received the call at work that he could not himself
be a donor and was reeling from this news when a coworker stepped forward and asked if he himself could be a match.

That coworker was Jerran Higgins, a seven year veteran of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, who met Garett’s
father years earlier while the two played in a city hockey league. They remained close through work functions and social
gatherings, but the Ramos family never imagined the relationship would one day make the difference for their son.

Higgins called the hospital and began a months-long
screening process. After extensive testing, Higgins
learned he was a perfect match to donate a kidney
and as of yesterday, besides being a husband and
father of two, he also became a living kidney donor.

Although Jerran was a perfect match with a high
performing kidney, any healthy person can donate.
To find out more go to and always
mark the donor boxes at the DMV.

More information is available about this incredible
story at Gar
rett’s blog



And…we’re walking!

Garrett got up and walked down to Jerran’s room. Pretty uncomfortable. He said he feels like his insides are going to fall out. He can feel the Super Kidney through his right side belly.

Not a lot of smiling or joking, but he’s moving.

Everyone’s vitals still good. 

Dr. Freise rounding – get walking!

“We need to get you moving, really important,” Dr Freise said. Fortunately, a new pain med is working better. Garrett is more relaxed, not in so much pain. But balancing the meds with moving and getting his system moving is critical.

So the goal is still to get the two walking together.

I smell a competition coming on.

Good morning! After a rough night.

Rough night for Garrett. Hard to manage the pain, but it’s very gradually getting better. Staff got him up to weigh him, and that takes a lot out of you when you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. And then it backed up and hit you again. Twice.

He’s put out 7 liters of urine on his new kidney so far. It’s epic. They’ve had to keep the saline going to keep him hydrated.

Garrett’s had just ice water and a little apple juice. Goals today are clear liquids in, get him off the pain med pump and just on oral pain medication but that will take a big dip down to next level of pain. He says even talking hurts, and you can tell clearly he is in pain with some bouts of relief.

Jerran is taking his first walks this morning. And his first 20 feet were down the hall to see Garrett. We assured Garrett that Jerran’s not too far ahead of him in the walking department–there’s time to catch up! 


Jerran walked twice more around the floor. Twelve times and he gets a T-shirt! Doing great. Still in pain, especially as he moves more, but in great spirits. 

Jerran’s goal today is also to get off the pain meds pump this afternoon, with some oral pain meds to keep working on that pain consistently.

Liz is Mama Bear, as you can imagine, so we think one of our goals should be to get Liz out of Garrett’s room for an hour or so.