The remarkable life of Dolores Vázques

Dolores – who should really be called Esperanza.

If you know a little bit of Spanish you will know that Dolores is not just a name, it’s the Spanish word for pains. Once you have read the tale of Dolores Vázquez you might think that somehow this name is a fitting one. She did go through a lot of pain. But that’s exactly why we think she should be called Esperanza. The Spanish word for hope.

Stories like these are anything but easy to tell, and if you listen closely to Elisa Loro when she talks about the life of her mother Dolores Vázquez you can feel that it’s not easy for her. But even more than that you can feel the admiration she has for this woman that has been subjected to so much hardship and yet never ceases to be full of joy and optimism. Already as a child, Dolores was struck with polio and all its difficult consequences. It did not keep her from having a happy childhood, even when her communion was celebrated in a hospital. She just kept going, grew up, found a good husband, led a happy marriage and gave birth to three children.

A sinister year

Some people say that leap years are sinister years. Just like 2020, the year 2000 was a leap year, and it did bring a lot of pain for Dolores. Her dear husband passed away that year, and to make matters worse, her first transplanted kidney was rejected. Causing her to spend three months in hospital and affecting the mobility of the leg that wasn’t affected by polio.

Dolores is a women with a lot of willpower though. She worked hard to get back on her feet – and eventually walked out of the hospital by herself. Life still had unpleasant surprises for her. She had a thyroid operation in the same year, and the second kidney started to fail as well just one month after the death of her husband. After ten years with this kidney it was time to start over.

The call

It was back to dialysis, and back to waiting for the famous call that would tell her that she could get a second kidney transplant. That call took place on February 25, 2002. Even this surgery resulted in difficulties, keeping her in the hospital for another two months of hospitalization due to an infection. But at least that was the last kidney trans-plant that she would need.

One thing never fails though – and that’s Dolores’ positivity. She goes to the dialysis center with optimism and joy. She is always happy to be a source of joy at the center, dressing up as Joker for example, or putting on all kinds of wigs and costumes. She always gives encouragement to anyone who needs it.

What a life

Imagine all of this – and more. Dolores overcame uterine cancer that took her to the operating room again in 2014, and again in 2017. Quite understandably, she is quite afraid of going through all of this again. That’s why Dolores is always taking her medication on time and is happy to have necessary tests and check-ups done. Her message: always follow the recommendations of your doctors and try to keep a positive attitude. Surround yourself with good and supportive people and the process will be much more bearable. And most of all: be grateful to those make it possible for people like her to be as great as she is. Dolores – who should really be called Esperanza.


Just when this patient story was finished we received the sad news that brave and inspiring Dolores Vázques has passed away. Her family asked us to keep her story as a fond memory of Dolores. She may not be among us anymore, but her spirit lives on. May she rest in peace.