MIAMI – It’s estimated there are more than 90,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney transplant.
While there are many organizations aimed at supporting these patients, none are specifically dedicated to finding living donors for children.
In the fight to save his own son, a South Florida father started a foundation that can help other children in need.
John Paul Medina and his wife go through a nightly routine with their son J.P.; putting him on 12 hours of dialysis to support his failing kidneys.
Following complications in utero, J.P. was born with end stage renal disease.
“So his kidneys were not functioning at all,” Medina said.
“Any child with kidney disease is a complex balance but losing all function in the first few days of life is by far the most complicated of cases and that’s because technology has not caught up to the pediatric world yet,” added Dr. Nicole Christin, a Pediatric Nephrologist with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Cristin said J.P.’s Case was even more complicated by abdominal wall defects which caused some of his internal organs to develop on the outside.
“And that actually hindered our ability to do peritoneal dialysis right off the bat,” Christin said.
Ultimately, a kidney transplant was the only option for long term survival.
“And from what I understand, the shelf life on a deceased donor kidney may be 10, 15 years, so he’s so young he would require potentially three. Mathematically that would get him to 50′s hopefully, maybe, right, and that’s god willing he didn’t reject any of those kidneys,” Medina said.
That motivated him to start the Living Donor Project in January 2023.
“We’re going to start with JP, use him as a case study, and start with the next child after that and continue to roll over to the next child and so forth,” Medina said.
He hopes that through the foundation, his son will grow up knowing that what he went through helped change the lives of other children in need.
According to the C.D.C., almost 10,000 children and adolescents in the United States are living with end stage renal disease and fewer than one thousand of those are under the age of four.
For more information about the foundation go to: https://jp.livingdonorproject.org/