When doctors told Jonathan Coronado that he was too obese to save his sister’s life, he made the life-changing decision then and there to lose a massive amount of weight.
Jonathan ate what he wanted when he wanted, wasn’t overly interested in sports or keeping fit and generally liked to “chill.” He knew he was overweight to the point of obese, but due to some low self-esteem issues was never motivated to do anything about it. Then, some tragic news came about his 13-year-old sister Denise and Jonathan faced the hardest decision of his life.
When Denise was just 9, she was diagnosed with a very rare blood disorder called Henoch-Schonlein Purpura. This life-threatening disorder inflames tiny blood vessels in the intestines and harms the kidneys. Little Denise endured dialysis for four years but as time went by she grew sicker and sicker.
Soon after her 13th birthday, Denise was getting even sicker, and her doctors told her concerned parents that her only chance of a normal childhood was a kidney transplant. As it turned out, her brother Jonathan was a match as a kidney donor, but at 356 pounds and only 5 feet 4 inches, he was classed as morbidly obese and therefore unfit as a donor.
Jonathan knew he was overweight, but he didn’t care much. That’s until his wife posted a photo of him and her on their wedding day on Facebook. “I would never look at myself in the mirror,” Jonathan, 31, told TODAY. “We took a picture at my wedding, and my wife posted it on Facebook, and I got upset because she posted it. I didn’t know I was that big,” he said.
Soon after his wedding, when Jonathan received the news that his sister Denise was deteriorating, he wanted to help and was devastated that he couldn’t do so simply because of his weight. Jonathan decided on the spot to take steps to change, and he started by watching what he ate. First went the sugary sodas, then went the cookies and cake. Jonathan was on the right track; a track he had never been on before.
As Jonathan told the publication, “I learned as I went,” he said. “The more I lost weight, the more I got confident and doing more workouts. (Healthy) diets just became a habit.” He explained that he set himself “moderate goals” at first but then got into what he described as “healthy habits.” At first, Jonathan would walk around the park and eat healthily. Within six months, Jonathan had lost 100 pounds but was still “hungry” for more.
Jonathan caught the wellness bug, and his whole life became about losing weight and helping his sister. “I felt like I needed to lose more, so I just re-adjusted my diet and calorie intake,” explained Jonathan. He increased his cardio and started lifting weights, eating homemade meals instead of take-outs. He soon lost another 60 pounds but still needed to lose more weight to become a kidney donor.
All The Way
When Jonathan reached his target weight of 195 pounds, he was thrilled. “I went all the way down to 195 pounds, and that’s when I was eligible for donation,” he said. On September 10, 2018, Jonathan donated his kidney to his sister, returning from hospital the very next day. Denise’s recovery was a lot longer and harder than her brother’s, but she just went from strength-to-strength as the months drew on.
As her physical health started to improve, Denise was able to get to do some of the things she loved most. That included studying hard and doing well in tests, something Denise did very, very well. As a straight-A student, Denise secured a scholarship and seeing his sister living a full life made Jonathan extremely happy.
As Jonathan explained, “It was life-changing for her. She started to be happier,” he said. “She is starting to go out and have fun and do the things she couldn’t do when she was in dialysis. It makes me happy to see her that way,” he added. For his part, Jonathan is proud of his own achievements when it came to transforming his own life; something he thanks his little sister Denise for.
Jonathan feels he learned some vital life lessons from his plight to lose weight, but especially from what Denise went through. Eventually, his weight stabilized to 200 pounds, a weight Jonathan was satisfied with. For him, it was all about self-will and determination. “You have to really want to do it if you want to lose weight,” he said. “It was easy when I wanted it. “I did it for her and for myself. I wanted to do it for myself, but it could also benefit her,” he said. “I just did it for the both of us.”