TAMPA - Two-year-old Evan Ranieri will be getting a donated kidney Wednesday. His parents hope his journey will inspire others to donate organs to children who have a whole lifetime still ahead of them.
Like many toddlers, Evan loves watching Toy Story and eating Froot Loops without the milk.
Unlike most, he has to do it at Tampa General Hospital a couple of times a week.
Born with under-developed kidneys, he has been fighting since he was born, most recently hooked up to dialysis machines. Melissa Ranieri is his mother. “Without this machine, without this intervention, he wouldn't be here with us."
Today is a good day, his last full day of dialysis prior to kidney transplant surgery at TGH Wednesday. Melissa says, “It’s definitely a day full of excitement but there's also a lot of anxiety and a lot of the unknown of what the future holds for Evan."
Also for mom because she is his donor.
“I have another child at home, so there are a lot of emotions that come into play. Thinking and considering what's at risk. But I know it’s something I want to do and that I have to do to be able to help my son."
Doctor James Huang, Tampa General Hospital’s director of renal transplant, will perform the surgery. “We have to make sure the toddler is large enough to receive the adult kidney. But once the toddler receives the kidney, it will be more than enough function for his daily processes. With an adult kidney they will actually do better in terms of growing and thriving."
While today mom is nervous about their upcoming surgeries, she really wants Evan's story to be a story of hope and advocacy that proves love cures. “I want Evan to grow up and have respect for this disease and I want him to advocate not only for himself but for other kids. You look at a child like Evan and others who have kidney disease and you don't know anything is wrong but these kids fight everyday to be alive.”
Mom also wants people to understand a transplant is not a cure. Evan will spend every day on medication aimed at keeping him from rejecting his mother's gift.
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