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Jennifer – donated a kidney to her son, Tyson

My 18 year old son, Tyson, was diagnosed in February 2018 with IgA Nephropathy. His blood pressure was elevated during and after a minor surgery in January. He’s doctor ran blood tests and we were sent to Norton Children’s in Louisville. There it was determined through a kidney biopsy that it was indeed IgA.

His health progressively worsened, and by May he was starting home peritoneal dialysis nightly. In June he was hospitalized after having 2 seizures due to his high blood pressure. We were told he would need a kidney transplant. He was placed on the national registry and I was being vetted and tested as a potential donor. We received word September 5 I was eligible for donation, and on October 9, at Norton Children’s, I gave him his second chance at life.

He’s a very athletic kid, who plays soccer for a traveling club as well as his high school. He missed the spring season with his club, and his senior season with his high school team. He’s been told he’ll be able to practice and play this coming spring with his club. He will graduate with honors May 2019 from McCracken County High School. He has applied to and has been accepted to five different Kentucky universities, and has chosen University of Kentucky. He will major in Biology with hopes of attending dental school and becoming and orthodontist.

He has never once asked “why me?”. He’s never refused his medicine or a dialysis treatment. Even on his worst days prior to transplant, he went to school or work (yes, he even has a part time job) and tried his hardest to get through the day. Since he’s been home from the transplant, he’s starting to go back to the kid he was before he became sick-smiling, whistling and singing around the house, teasing his little sister, and hanging out with friends.

Tyson on his first day back to school, post-transplant


His first day back at school is today (11/26) and he even drove himself to school. I never imagined my family would be on the receiving end of an organ donation. We (myself, my husband, and our three children) are all registered donors, and I just felt that when my time was over, my organs and tissue would be recovered and life would go on for others. I never imagined us ever having to rely on another person’s selflessness to save one of my children. I carried my phone everywhere and we made plans and back up plans in case we got the call saying there was a kidney before all my testing was complete. I can’t imagine the pain and frustration of the ones who have been waiting for years on the registry.

Tyson’s story has been on our local news and in the newspaper, as well as a couple social media outlets. I truly hope someone read or saw his story and it helped sway him/her into becoming a donor. I tell everyone all the time “become a donor, and make sure your wishes are known to your family. Donate blood if you’re able. Do something to keep life going”