A new kidney and a new life

Last fall, University Health System sent out an urgent public plea for someone with a big heart to step forward and donate a kidney to 5-year-old Leland — a child in foster care who had been on dialysis most of his life.

Leland has never been able to swim or eat certain foods, like cheese sticks and oranges. His plan, “when I get my kidney,” was to go to a water park and hit the slide. But he was nearing the end of his body’s ability to undergo life-saving dialysis treatments.

When the call went out in November, more than 500 people stepped forward and a donor match was quickly found.

Now Leland is recovering and he has had a very big week — he was adopted AND he got to go to a water park!

“He was so excited to finally go swimming for the first time ever this week,” said Lauren, his mother. “His goal is to go as many times as he can this summer. He’s ready to make up for lost time!”

He also was legally adopted (and got to bang the judge’s gavel)!

To top it all off, without dialysis Leland gets to spend 12 more hours every week being a normal kid. He loves playing with his siblings, he loves Star Wars and cowboys, and he gets to eat bananas, oranges, cheese sticks and ice cream.

Because the family wishes to protect his privacy we are not releasing last names. But his mother wanted to express her gratitude to the many generous people who stepped up for Leland — some of whom ended up going through the process and donating a kidney to someone else.

Donating a kidney to someone is a serious decision, one that should be made with an understanding of the possible risks and complications. For those interested learning more about being an altruistic living kidney donor please visit online at UTCLivingDonor.com or Donate Life America, or call (210) 567-5777.