When 16-year-old Grant Virgin of Palm Desert, California, was hit by a car, he suffered brain damage, broken bones and a torn aorta. Doctors told his mother, author J.J. Virgin, to let her son go. Then Virgin learned about a surgeon two hours away at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center who could possibly save her son by repairing his aorta. Grant Virgin was airlifted and rushed into the operating room of Carlos Donayre, MD ’83.
J.J. Virgin said Donayre’s calm, confident demeanor gave her hope during the darkest time for her family.
“He told us, ‘You don’t have to worry. I’ve got this,’” she said. “I leaned into his strength and trusted that he would save my son.”
The trust the Virgin family placed in Donayre paid off, and this story is characteristic of the relationships he shares with his patients. The chief of vascular and endovascular surgery and a professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine, Donayre inspires patients and colleagues alike with his conscientious bedside manner and innovative surgical techniques.
Donayre credits much of his success to the education he received at the UF College of Medicine, and that’s why he and his wife, Sandra, made the decision to donate $2 million to the college as part of their estate plans, establishing both the Enrique Donayre Scholarship and the Carlos E. Donayre, MD, Professorship in Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Surgery.
“I have much gratitude for the University of Florida,” he said. “I want to give back to UF for all the opportunities I was given, and I want to make an impact.”
The Donayres’ $1 million scholarship, named for Carlos Donayre’s father, will fund the education of UF College of Medicine students, with preference given to students who have graduated from a Peruvian high school or those with parents who have graduated from a Peruvian high school. Donayre moved to Palm Bay, Florida, from Peru at age 12.
“My parents lived out their dreams through their children by bringing us to the United States to be educated. My brother, sister and I fulfilled their dreams at the University of Florida,” he said. “I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for our parents’ mission.”