Meet Danny…

Written by Danny, a 2014 Kidney Walk National Ambassador. 

 IMG_1298I’m Daniel, twelve years old, born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan and I have Chronic Kidney Disease.

Even before I was born, the doctors saw a potential problem with my right kidney during a routine ultrasound. My mom had to have a lot of ultrasounds so the doctors could keep an eye on things. Right after I was born, the doctors checked me out, did an ultrasound on me, and gave me the all clear. Everyone thought I was healthy and had two normal kidneys. That lasted for seven weeks.IMG_1330

It turns out that the tube extending from my right kidney to my bladder was bent – really bent. Tied up in knots kind of bent. As a result, my right kidney didn’t work at all and the damage had an effect on my left kidney as well. My left kidney is just too small to do all the work it is going to need to do to keep me healthy as I grow. I have to keep a habit of drinking more than the average amount of water per day, and I go to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital for blood draws and clinic visits every few months. I also get an injection every evening of growth hormones so that I will grow like other kids. I know that I am going to need a new kidney one day but my parents are making sure that I get to have a normal childhood – I even went to sleep away camp for an entire month! The nurses took great care of me and, except for the contact sports I got to participate in all the activities.

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Shortly after the diagnosis, my mother learned of the National Kidney Foundation, and its local branch, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. I have taken part in the Detroit Kidney Walk since the age of three but only began fundraising outside of my immediate family three years ago – my parents thought it was importan t that I understand the value of money before asking others to donate. In the last few years my family, friends, and even strangers have helped me raise over $25,000 to help kids and adults like me everywhere.

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Stay tuned in for more blog posts written by Danny throughout the the year.P1000251


School Unites Around Transplant Teacher

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It wasn’t Physical Education that had children at Barrow Elementary walking around the track in circles. The miniature Kidney Walk was in honor of 2nd grade teacher Nicole O who received a kidney transplant in 2013.

“A lot of the kids wanted to do something to show they care,” said Barrow Elementary teacher Tracey H. “Everybody at school loves Nicole, and this is a good way for kids to learn about their kidneys and show their support.”

Nicole, who lives outside of Brazoria, TX underwent the kidney transplant operation in 2013 after her kidneys failed due to a genetic kidney disease. In order to get the kidney, her husband, Eric, participated in a three-way kidney swap with other individuals in California and Missouri.

“Everything fell into place perfectly,” said Nicole of the procedure. “I felt so good afterwards that I was ready to go to work the next day.”

Now that both Eric and Nicole have fully recovered, the transplant has given Nicole the opportunity to participate in research studies that could help other transplant patients. It has also revealed to her just how widespread kidney disease is in her community.

“Since this happened, I’ve talked to a lot of people and realized that kidney disease is more common than I ever thought,” Nicole said. “I have friends who have relatives going through dialysis, you just don’t hear about it every day.”

Nicole is taking her story of hope to the Kidney Walk to support others with kidney disease and fund kidney disease research. She is honored that her co-workers and students have also stepped up for the cause, raising over $3,000 for the National Kidney Foundation.

“The school, students and everyone have been amazing and so supportive,” she said. “It’s been such a remarkable experience.”