A special Christmas wish for Matthew

Like most kids, 6-year-old Matthew Parker has a wish list for Santa. His family, however, has a wish for Matthew — a little boy who has struggled with a serious medical condition for most of his young life.

“Matthew already wrote Santa a really nice letter,” his mother, Lisa Parker, said. “He spent quite a bit of time writing everything out himself. Matthew knows the toys will come from Santa Claus, and that a new kidney will come from someone special.”

Matthew’s kidneys began to fail when he was just three weeks of age. It was the second bit of life-altering news for his family regarding the birth. The first — on a happier note — was the fact that Matthew wouldn’t be the only new member of the family.

He was a triplet, joining brothers Mark and Samuel. The brothers are inseparable, their mom said.

When Matthew’s kidneys stopped working, he was placed on dialysis — a process that artificially does the work of kidneys by filtering the blood of toxins. Physicians at University Transplant Center also placed him on the transplant list. And on Sept. 28, 2010 at the age of 2, he received a new kidney from a deceased donor.

Unfortunately, Matthew’s body began rejecting the new kidney after a couple of years. Doctors put him back on the transplant list.

“A transplant would mean improved performance in school, more energy and a better overall quality of life,” said Dr. Mazen Arar, University Transplant Center’s pediatric kidney medical director.

Because of compatibility issues, the family is hoping a living donor will come forward. Although donating a kidney to someone is a serious decision, one that should be made with an understanding of the possible risks and complications, a kidney transplant from a living donor starts working faster and lasts longer than one from a deceased donor.

For more information about Matthew or altruistic living kidney donation, visit the University Transplant Center site, or call (210) 567-5777 or toll-free (888) 336-9633. For information on donating to help Matthew and children like him, visit Donate Life America.