Paired Donor Program for Kidney Transplant a Miracle

Some of you may remember a blog post I wrote several months ago about Giovanni Santos, a young man here in Georgia who desperately needed a new kidney. Giovanni has been undergoing dialysis every day to keep him alive until a donor kidney turned up for him. Well, today is the day. Through the remarkable “paired donor” program, Giovanni will receive a kidney from a non-relative somewhere in Texas who matches Giovanni and simultaneously, the family in Texas will receive a kidney from Michelle Santos, Giovanni’s mom, whose kidney didn’t match her son’s but did match the person who needs a new kidney in Texas. Amazing, isn’t it? Please keep the Santos Family and their surgeons in your prayers so that all goes well and keep the Texas Family in your prayers, also. Below is an article published by 11Alive.com on the surgeries occuring today in two states.

You can learn more about the paired donation program at the Paired Donation Alliance. In 2009 People Magazine honored 20 individuals as the People Most Unselfish Heroes of the Year who created the longest kidney donation chain ever. Another amazing story!!

He’s Finally Going To Get The Healthy Kidney He Desperately Needs
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Marc Pickard
Usually, when we follow the story of a child needing an organ transplant it has a happy ending.
But when we told you about nine year old Giovanni (joe-vahn-ee) Santos last summer the news wasn’t good.
Born with failing kidneys…transplanted with one of his grandmother’s …Giovanni (joe-vahn-ee) endured a series of hardships that left him without any functioning kidneys.
We heard from Giovanni’s mother today.

With no healthy kidneys…Giovanni Santos doesn’t get to take many trips.
But he is taking one today.

It has been a struggle for Giovanni since the summer…when efforts to have his mother and then his father donate their kidneys failed.
He has been on home dialysis.

“Dialysis has taken a toll on him” related Giovanni’s mother Michelle. “It unfortunately is not working as well as they had hoped.”

They have asked the rest of their family…and their friends to test to be donors.

“There was no match to be found” Michelle Santos said.

Then, through Emory hospital, they learned of something called the “pair donor” program.

“You would give your kidney to another family…..it’s anonymous” said Michelle Santos. “And they would donate to your family member.”

Yesterday, the Santos got a phone call.

“So we got the call yesterday from our doctor” an excited Michelle said, “that we have a match. And we are going to transplant.”

Tomorrow, Michelle Santos will have a kidney removed and sent to a recipient in Texas…and that same family in Texas will send a kidney to Giovanni at children’s healthcare at Egleston.

“What does that mean to you? Giovanni was asked. “I mean…that’s mostly the biggest present. Biggest. Taller than this house” he answered. “better than anything you got for Christmas?” “Yes.”

Giovanni (joe-vahn-ee) Santos will celebrate his tenth birthday at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta while recuperating from his kidney transplant.
He told us that’s fine…because getting a new kidney will be the best birthday present he could ever get.

It will also give Giovanni a life no longer tied to a dialysis machine…more time with friends.

“I get to play with my friends more often. Get a sleep-over. Cause I hate when I have to leave. I………hate………..it” Giovanni said. “But I can stay longer”. “And play?” He was asked. “Yeah” “And have fun?” “Yeah” “And be with your friends?” “Yes.”

Getting a kidney means a lot to Giovanni.
And it means a lot to his friends.
They want him to stay longer too.