A blood drive could save a life

Stephen S. Gaines / Staff Intern
Elwood "E. J." Albarado

With his life hanging in the balance, EJ Albarado's struggle to survive hangs on just five more blood donors for a blood transfusion.

Life on kidney dialysis is a rough one for Mister EJ Albarado, a father of two boys. Living on SSI disability, EJ lives between his house and the hospital. A man who weights over 400 pounds, he relies on a motorized wheelchair to move around. He used to cut lawns for a living and is now an owner of a lawn mowing company. Jordan Albarado is his youngest son at 15, and Shawn,17, is his oldest.

After his kidney failed, EJ was placed on dialysis and as a result, received many blood transfusions. Last year he had sixteen units of blood transfused. The reason is because his veins around his stomach walls are wrapped too tightly, causing them to rub together and bleed. This year he's already had seven units of blood. He also has a surgery scheduled for August of this year. Now, he has to go in every month. His medicaid insurance stopped covering him because of the sheer amount that he needs. He has been on dialysis for nine years.

Yet, even with all of this hardship, EJ still has a life outside of dialysis. Before dialysis, EJ collected championship balls and glass Coca-Cola bottles. Living in his trailer in Hwy 42 in Prairieville, his two sons aspire to go to college, and his younger son Jordan plays football for St. Amant high school. He also has a niece who goes to Nicholls State University. Because of his condition, EJ was only able to make one football game for his son Jordan. EJ wishes to spend more time to support his kids. He says he's going to try to make more home games for his son, even with his mounting health problems.

In an interview with the Weekly, he described his breathing. He can hardly breathe at night without the help of a machine. He has also suffered respiratory failure twice. The breathing mask covers his face as the machine pumps oxygen to his mouth and nose. Life without the machine is near impossible.

I feel like I could die,” he said.

With his surgery coming soon, all EJ has to hope for is just a few more donors to give blood. With that, he can continue life with his kids and enjoy football games. With enough blood the doctors at Our Lady of the Lake can stop the bleeding and replace the blood he lost. For those who wish to donate, go to OLOL anytime. Give his name, Elwood Albarado Jr, and date of birth, 12/17/1968.