TAMPA, Fla. — When an old college friend needed a kidney transplant, this Realtor made a commitment to help.
The bond between brothers, even those who aren’t related by blood, is strong. No one knows that better than Anthony G. Canizares, broker of RE/MAX All Pros in Tampa Bay and Gary Lopez. A lifelong resident of Tampa Bay, Canizares attended the University of South Florida and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, where he met Lopez.
“He was my brother’s friend (Canizares’ brother was also in the fraternity), but as we grew older and did business together, we built a bond.” Since 1989, Canizares and Lopez have celebrated each other’s accomplishments, family birthdays, holidays and vacations. They have supported each other through good and bad times.
In 2001, Lopez was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease.
“When he told me he was sick, he mentioned that he may eventually need a kidney transplant. I told him I would help him out,” says Canizares. In October 2014, Lopez called in that favor. Canizares’ commitment never wavered. Because Lopez was overweight, he had trouble finding a Tampa-based doctor to do the transplant.
“He found a doctor in Chicago who would do the surgery,” Canizares says. “We did a lot of testing. I had to go to Chicago numerous times in 2015 for testing. We found out I was a match in February 2015.”
Then, reality hit. As the broker and manager of his real estate office, Canizares realized that the surgery would leave him unable to work for up to four months.
“About 50 percent of my company’s sales come from me, not to mention that we had hotel and travel costs,” he says. “I wasn’t sure I could do it. It was very stressful. But, I couldn’t let my friend down.” A fundraiser was held to help offset costs.
The surgery was completed on July 23, 2015.
“Your body becomes overwhelmed. I still have complications from the surgery. I also continue to suffer from bouts of exhaustion. However, my discomfort is a small price to pay knowing I helped a friend in need,” Canizares says.
For more information, or to help Canizares with ongoing hospital and recovery costs, go to: https://www.youcaring.com/anthony-canizares-has-decided-to-give-his-kidney-390253#.VaGfuAQ8QSQ.email