Diver with congestive heart failure in need of donor

Derek Borrero told by doctors he needs heart, lung transplant from single donor


MIAMI – The open ocean is paradise, but for diver Derek Borrero, murky canals are his passion.

"Close your eyes. Walk in the forest. Don't know where you're going," is how Borrero describes diving in these waters.

He's had a career that's carried him from the Marines to law enforcement.

A diver by love and by trade, Borrero helps leads a volunteer group of divers that searches for people who are missing.

Borrero works with Guardians for the Missing. They coordinate with local law enforcement to dive and tag cars that may be linked to open cold cases. Local 10 News interviewed him last year when Borrero's team found William Naylor, who was missing for nearly a decade. The group also recently located missing teacher Lisa Hayden. They're currently looking for Trukita Scott.

For Borrero, these dives are his calling. He personally sinks or swims by his ability to offer closure to hurting families.

Right now, he is very much a fish out of water. Recently, Borrero was hospitalized by a virus that led to congestive heart failure. He's been told by his doctors he needs both a heart and a lung transplant from a single donor. He's used to dive masks, but now he can't go long without oxygen.

"It has to come from the same person," Borrero said. "I don't ponder someone else's demise, but that's where I'm at."

A man inspired by healing families now needs a grieving one to be healed himself. With his wife, Theresa, by his side, he has been in a hospital for more than a month. The visitors and cards stream in -- an outpouring of love and prayers for a miracle that this fish will one day swap masks.

"I've got to be in the water or my gills start drying up," he said. "If I could get in there, believe me, I'd be in there right now."

Borrero is expecting to be in the hospital for months, hoping and waiting. If anyone with a love of the water has diving stories, Borrero said he'd love to read them.

Send him a note to this address:
Jackson Memorial Hospital
1611 NW 12th Ave.
Miami, FL 33136
West Wing
4th Floor CCU
Derek Borrero

There is also a GoFundMe page established to help the family with hospital bills.


Follow Eric Yutzy on Twitter @EricYutzy

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10