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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Living out Core Values

Manny+Feature
Photo by Provided
Manny Feature

The Texas A&M Core Values took on a new meaning for agriculture economics senior Manny Acosta.
Growing up with the Aggie Spirit around him, Manny knew he was destined to attend A&M, just as his parents and other family members had. However, Manny showed his true Aggie Spirit during his junior year of college by donating his kidney to his younger brother, Marcus, after he was diagnosed with kidney failure.
After Marcus was diagnosed, their father, Louis A. Acosta, Class of 1993, said Manny called to tell him he wanted to get tested to see if he was a match as a donor. Though Louis was surprised, Manny insisted he go through with the testing to be able to serve as a possible donor for Marcus.
“I knew my brother needed me,” Manny said. “It’s just something you do. In my opinion, you never leave your family hanging.”
While in his sales class in the fall of 2019, Manny said he remembered exactly when he got the call saying he was a match for his brother. He immediately called his father to share the news.
“We’ve got a very strict ‘no cell phone’ policy [in my sales class] and very strict ‘don’t leave the room’ [policy], so when I took out my phone, got on my phone and left the room, they were grilling me after class,” Manny said. “I remember stepping out back behind in the breezeway in the building, and I was ecstatic.”
The same weekend, Manny flew to Florida to tell his brother and get his second round of testing done to make sure he was healthy enough for the surgery.
“It was supposed to be three days of testing,” Manny said. “I said, ‘Listen, I’ve got class; I can’t do that. I’m coming from out of state. Talk to everybody to see if we can get it down to one day,’ so I did 13 hours of testing in one day.”
Louis said after they told the family about the match, Marcus asked for the donation to be kept a secret from everyone besides immediate family.
“[Manny said,] ‘I don’t want anybody to know, because I don’t want this to become about me. I want this to be about my brother, Marcus,’” Louis said. “So I was sworn to secrecy; only the doctors knew the donor.”
Marcus said he is thankful for the selflessness of Manny and is grateful for his sacrifice in helping him to recover in such a fast manner.
“When they told me there that he was a match, I was just amazed,” Marcus said. “I didn’t think that I was going to be able to get out of that situation so quickly like that, but with his help, they moved as fast as they could to get done.”
The family planned the transplant surgery during spring break of 2020 at Manny’s request because he was adamant at getting back to College Station to get back to class as soon as possible.
“In my mind, I was going to get the surgery on Monday, recover at the hospital until Friday, then go to my parents house, recover till Wednesday or Thursday, and then fly back home,” Manny said. “[I planned to] finish out recovery [in College Station] and get right back to class. I wasn’t going to waste time. I wanted to spend as little time away from campus as possible.”
It was only a few days after surgery that spring break was extended indefinitely due to the heightened risk of COVID-19 in the United States. Since he did not need to return to campus with the move to online learning, Manny was able to recover at home alongside his brother.
“After something like that, you’re going to stay home no matter what,” Manny said. “Luckily for us, once I recovered a little bit more, my dad and I went hunting like every day at our lease in Cocoa Beach.”
With Manny’s selfless action, Marcus has now recovered and is attending community college. Marcus said Manny’s decision shows just how much he cares about those around him.
“[Manny is someone] you can count on. He’s not going to leave you out there on the side of the road,” Marcus said. “He will always come and help you, and, if he can’t, he’ll do what he can to get you help if he can’t help himself.”
Louis said he could not be more proud of Manny for overcoming all obstacles thrown his way during his college years with his brother being sick, recovering from surgery and enduring the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a father, there’s nothing more gratifying to see one of your offspring, my firstborn son, carrying the [family] name, be the first one of my offspring to go to college, and to get a degree from a university like Texas A&M,” Louis said.
After the online semester, Manny was able to return to campus in the fall for the hybrid semester, though he said he was happy to see classes go back to normal for his final semester in Aggieland.
During his last semester, Manny joined the Texas A&M Collegiate Sales Competition sponsored by Reynold and Reynolds, where approximately 100 students compete in a sales objective. Though he was not a finalist in the competition, his participation opened up a job opportunity for him with biotech company Amgen on the cardiovascular team, which he will begin pursuing in January in Austin.
“I’m looking forward to helping these doctors improve patients’ lives beautifully,” Manny said. “For me, it’s about helping people out.”
Additionally, Manny was given the opportunity to serve as a keynote speaker for the Weston Agri-Food sales summit in November.
“I love the program, and for me, this was a way to give back to the program in a small way,” Manny said. “It was great to be able to stand up in front of my peers and share my story for the first time.”
Manny said he plans to continue to exhibit the Aggie Core Values and Honor Code both in his work as a medical salesman and as a person overall.
“It’s all about ethics. I can’t sell a product I can’t get behind,” Manny said. “If I know the product is for some reason unsafe or dangerous or not as advertised, I won’t sell it because that’s not right. As an Aggie, I won’t do that.”

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