Celebrating Life-Saving Donors
Eight months into her pregnancy, Rebecca should have been lost in the excitement of having a new baby. Instead, she was plagued by the very real fear that her eldest son may not live to meet his new baby sister.
Four-year-old Cole became ill shortly before starting kindergarten. His parents thought he had the flu but a blood test at his local hospital in Exeter revealed his kidneys were failing. He was rushed to Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre to receive treatment in the Paediatric Critical Care Unit.
Cole spent the next three weeks fighting for his life against a mysterious illness that would take his left arm and leg.
“You feel helpless,” said Rebecca. “You wish you could trade places with your son and that it was you, as parents, going through this experience rather than your child.”
It turned out Cole had Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, an extremely rare disease of the immune system. For the next four years, Cole endured dialysis treatments four hours a day, four days a week. In November 2012 he began taking a medication that enabled him to be listed for a kidney transplant, which he received in February 2014.
“I’ve always been grateful for our health care system, but I didn’t really understand the impact of the expertise and compassion until we needed it,” said Rebecca.
Today, Cole is an active 10-year-old thanks to a generous organ donor. He enjoys playing basketball and video games and going camping with his family.
“We wake up every morning and are thankful,” said Rebecca. “We don’t take anything for granted.”
April 23 to 29 marks National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. You can help kids like Cole by becoming a donor. Sign up today at www.beadonor.ca.