NORMAN — Two days before the end of the school year, Erika Ramirez was looking forward to summer vacation and then entering the fifth grade at Truman Elementary School.
That late May morning, however, she became ill on the playground, complaining of stomach pain and dizziness, said her father, Carlos Guerra.
A school employee called Erika's mother, Teresa Ramirez, who worked at a Norman restaurant. She took Erika home from school, Guerra said, but his daughter continued to complain of nausea and stomach pain. A trip to the emergency room followed.
From there, she was transferred by ambulance to Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City, where she spent a week in intensive care, said Blanca Rangel, a family friend and Erika's godmother.
Diagnostic tests revealed kidney failure, Rangel said.
Now the family has been told that Erika will need a kidney transplant. She has been getting dialysis three times a week, Rangel said, and is under a restricted diet.
Erika is not allowed to eat fish, cheese, dairy products, tomatoes, spicy foods or salt. Chicken must be boiled.
She is on a transplant waiting list.
“They have no idea what happened,” Rangel said of Erika's illness. “They (Erika's doctors) are saying her kidneys are too small for her body, and have stopped growing.”
Rangel said up to the time she became ill, Erika had been an active 10-year-old. She enjoys reading and writing.
“She is also interested in dancing,” Rangel said.
Pay up front
Guerra said the family has been told a kidney transplant operation will cost up to $250,000, and must be paid up front.