The Mendez National Institute of Transplantation (MNIT) created and produced Fixing Paco, an innovative telenovela-style webseries, in order to provide culturally relevant educational information on organ transplantation to Latinos and those suffering from end-stage renal disease (ESRD). With a generous grant by the UniHealth Foundation, Fixing Paco was shot in both English and Spanish, and follows the fictional Fuentes family’s triumph in battling kidney failure; a battle many Latino families face.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 50% of the patients on the waiting list for a transplant in the greater Los Angeles area are Latino. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the main culprits, making kidneys the organ in demand in the Latino community. And at a national level, there are more than 20,000 Latinos currently awaiting an organ transplant.
Having identified the most common challenges that Latino dialysis patients face in pursuing transplantation, and realizing that nothing existed to meet their educational needs in an engaging manner, MNIT created the groundbreaking Fixing Paco series to augment the One-on-One Kidney Transplant Education Program, and the episodes complement the teaching sessions of the program.
Each episode of Fixing Paco informs dialysis patients and their families about the treatment options of transplantation, living donation, and being proactive with their health. While the series is highly educational, it is also full of cultural humor and drama that defines dynamic Latino families. Margie Fuentes (Gloria Garayua), a young adult and aspiring doctor, deals with the stress of her father’s kidney failure by video blogging. Her father, Paco (Comedian Paul Rodriguez) struggles with dialysis. Not only is Paco’s health failing, so is his handyman business. Fortunately for Paco, he has the support of his wife, Carmencita (Emmy Award-Winner, Marabina Jaimes) and their family to help him get through the ups and downs. Fixing Paco shows the Fuentes family’s vulnerabilities, but also highlights their strength and determination that ultimately helps them prevail.
Fixing Paco was a 2013 People’s Telly Silver Award Winner, and has received a number of other awards and nominations including, 2014 IMAGEN Awards, Best Webseries, Drama, nominee; 2014 IMAGEN Awards, Best Webseries, Reality or Informational, nominee; 2014 IMAGEN Awards, Best Webseries, Comedy, nominee; 2013 IMAGEN Awards, Best Webseries, Drama, nominee; 2013 Reel Rasquache Film Festival, Fixing Paco: Changing Lives, Best Short Form Documentary, nominee; and 2012 Reel Rasquache Film Festival Best Webisode Award.