For years, Abel Alvarez has had a heart for his alma mater and hands quick to lead students from his hometown to Abilene. Today, he needs a kidney.
The 1982 Abilene Christian University graduate, trustee and ACU’s 2015 winner of a Distinguished Alumni Citation has a rare blood type. It’s O negative, shared by only 9 percent of Americans, according to the American Red Cross, and always in short supply. That complicates an urgent need to replace the only kidney he has, one donated to him 28 years ago by a sibling. It’s now failing and he hopes to begin dialysis quickly, but other health issues could delay treatments by a month or more.
Alvarez is longtime minister of the Harvey Drive Church of Christ in the South Texas city of McAllen, a community hero for his work in local schools, an advocate for ACU’s expertise in mobile-learning technology, and one of the university’s most devoted volunteer recruiters of high school students.
“He has a deep desire for students of all nationalities and ethnicities to experience a transformative Christ-centered education that many of us who graduated from here experienced,” said former Students’ Association president Samuel Palomares (’11), one of the many students Alvarez recruited.
“When our alumni know students well enough to tell us, ‘This person would be a great fit for ACU,’ it helps us tremendously,” said chief enrollment officer Kevin Campbell (’00) in a story about Alvarez in ACU Today magazine. “He’s been a champion and advocate for us for many years, telling our story in the Valley to anyone who will listen.”
“The last time I needed a kidney was in 1988,” Alvarez said. “Through their prayers and other help, my friends in the ACU community made a big difference in my ability to survive a difficult period in my life. I hope an organ donor with my blood type can be found, and quickly.”
Alvarez said he deeply appreciates prayers on his behalf and asks for those with leads for an O-negative kidney donor to message him on his Facebook page.
Read “Willing and Abel,” an ACU Today magazine profile of Alvarez and his life’s work: