Breathe For Charles
On a chilly Texas City, Texas evening in January 2016, Charles Espinoza awoke to the warmth of his loving wife while his 3-year-old daughter played in a nearby room. Proceeding to dinner and winding his little one down to go to sleep, Charles felt assured that tonight would be another one like the rest: filled with love and made productive by his work at a refinery. Charles made a habit of never walking out of the door without a proclamation of love for his wife and children and, in this regard, Charles believed that night was no different than the rest.
Two kisses and one sentence later, Charles went to work.
That night, everything changed.
At approximately 2:45 a.m., an explosion occurred. Shortly after, the regenerator, with the appearance of a dungeon, went up in flames. Charles, fighting to get out of the fire and back home to his family, suffered nearly fatal burns to most of his body. Life as he knew it had been changed forever.
After being rescued from the inferno, Charles was transported to a burn unit for life-saving treatment. It turned out that Charles’ burns were not his only worries. The fire damaged Charles’ lungs permanently beyond repair.
If he was to survive, he would need a lung transplant. He would need an organ donor.
Since organ donations are rarely available when patients need them the most, Charles’ hopes for survival, and the hopes of his family, began to dwindle. Unlike the 22 people in the United States who die each day awaiting an organ donation, Charles’ story was different. Doctors were able to match Charles with a lung donor. After a complicated surgery, Charles was given a chance of living.
With his family holding their breath and a team of dedicated surgeons refusing to let Charles go, the surgery was deemed a success.
Charles does have a long and incredibly difficult road of recovery ahead of him, and his life will never be the same as it was before that horrific fire, but Charles has his dear family beside him for now, thanks to someone Charles will never know.
Charles may never get to thank his donor, but every day, he gets to breathe for him.