Kidney number two came from Mom. Now Keeley Beytell-Heron is slated to receive another kidney – this time from her father.
Beytell-Heron was twelve days old when she went on kidney dialysis, the youngest ever child to be put on the machines. She was born of what was a normal pregnancy, carried to term. But within a few days, she was diagnosed with transposed arteries, a condition in just one in ten thousand kids in which two major arteries leaving the heart are connected to the wrong ventricles or lower chambers of the heart. She had emergency heart surgery at ten days old, but post-op complications damaged her kidneys irreparably, prompting doctors to order dialysis, essentially ordering a machine to stand in as functioning kidneys.
Because donor organs for babies and small children are hard to come by, her first came from a man in his thirties. It was a tough fit that doctors made work until she was twelve. Which is when her mother stepped in with a live kidney donation. Now Beytell-Heron is twenty and needs another, and her dad is stepping in.
Kidney donation from within families is relatively common – the need for a genetic match plays significantly into that fact, but kidneys are one of the few things a live donor can offer up, prompting family members to step in to help one another. Donations from both parents, however, are rare – there have been just twelve in the United Kingdom where this family lives.
Let’s face it – there aren’t many people who can find a perfect match in both Mom and Dad. Although this family is doing a fantastic job of being there for each other, Keeley’s story – three transplants needed overall – just reminds parents why they need to get out there and sign to be an organ donor. Inspired to do so? Here’s how.