Blake Loudenber, a 9 year old from Griffith, IN Tells his Kidney Story on CNN

9 year old reaching 8 year wait for Kidney Transplant

By miracleblake  |  Posted February 13, 2013  |  Griffith, Indiana
 

 

CNN PRODUCER NOTE    

Meet Blake Loudenber. He is a nine year old from Griffith, Indiana who has been waiting almost eight years for his second kidney transplant. Blake was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Infants born with this disease have a low survival rate. Thankfully, Blake has defeated most odds and will be turning 10 in April. When Blake was born doctors had no hope of him surviving. One of his doctors wanted to send him home to die. However, Blake’s other doctor felt that he could save his life by putting him on dialysis. At 3 weeks old, Blake was the youngest patient to be put on dialysis through the University of Chicago. They saved his life.
At the age of two Blake received his first kidney transplant. He was doing well for a short while. Unfortunately, Blake soon became very ill. He was so sick that he could not even lift his head up. His family would walk him around for hours and hours just to keep him happy. He never cried, he never moaned, he would not talk, not a sound. What made this worse was Blake could not even walk yet; he was just lying there, dying. His family was in despair, they were scared they were going to lose him. All they could do was watch his little soul dwindle away. Through all this though, they still had hope.
One day, Blake took an even further turn for the worse. He was sitting up at the counter eating and he fell over almost hitting the floor. There was no response from him. When the ambulance arrived, they just ran in, and immediately ran out with Blake. They rushed him to Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. The doctors told Blake’s family that there was nothing more that could be done. Blake was dying. His little body was filled up with toxins and those toxins had put his body into shock. Finally, doctors decided to air lift him to Chicago and told his family that they should say their goodbyes because he probably would not make it there. They watched him take off and that was it. They thought Blake was gone. They drove to the hospital in Chicago in complete silence.
The helicopter arrived in Chicago and they immediately rushed Blake in to the hospital. Even though they thought he would not make it, they decided to insert a breathing tube into Blake. At this point Blake was unable to breathe on his own. Cindy, Blake’s grandmother and caregiver, stayed the night with him at the hospital. Around five o’clock in the morning something amazing happened. Blake was beginning to breathe a little bit on his own. Things were beginning to look up for this young boy. It took a long time but Blake finally pulled through. The doctors said it was a true miracle.
Blake was put back on dialysis and back on the kidney transplant list. Due to his age, Blake is at the top of the list. He has waited almost 8 long years now and still has not received his second kidney transplant. Blake has waited longer than any child in need of a kidney that has been treated out of the University of Chicago. There are two reasons why. The first reason is his blood type. Blake’s blood type is O positive. Anyone with that blood type can only accept forms of O blood. The second reason is because his body rejected the first kidney transplant. His antibodies shot sky high and it makes it extremely difficult for his blood to accept anything. Blake’s aunt Kylee was a match for him, but when they mixed the blood there was a bad reaction and that ruled her out.
During the wait of finding a match, he has suffered from many infections throughout the years. Most of these infections are from his dialysis catheter and they can be very hard to clear up. During Christmas 2011, he had a really bad infection and barely pulled through it. He was in the hospital for almost a month. He had many painful surgeries during this time. Blake has also had numerous blood transfusions and takes many medications orally and through injections. Due to a severe reaction to growth hormones, Blake’s growth plates are nearly closed. He has not grown since the age of four and a half. If Blake does not get a transplant before these plates close, he will remain 3 ½ feet for the rest of his life.
Every night we send our children to bed, have them brush their teeth, and take care of their regular night time rituals. Blake, on the other hand, has to be hooked up to his dialysis machine. He has to be on the machine for 11 hours every evening. Waking up the next day, he knows he cannot just jump out of bed and start his day. He has to finish his dialysis, take his medications, and then get ready for school. When you see Blake playing, he is running around and laughing like a normal kid. He loves baseball and plays little league and basketball. He goes to school, complains about homework, and does what an all American kid does. The only holdback is his illness. His aunt Kelly asked him what he would like to tell the world. His response was, “everything is going to be ok.” Blake is only 9 right now. His aunt Kelly does not think Blake realizes what it means when they say he may never grow. “Right now, he’s just a shorty, but still loves life. My biggest fear is that he’ll never grow, and that will lead to a shorter life, and that one day he won’t keep smiling about everything. We need his smile”(Kelly Ray).
Blake has a large family who he lives with. They revolve their lives around Blake. He has had a few miracles in his life but the grandest one of all is the love that his family has for each other. His grandma Cindy says that Blake’s favorite thing is rainbows. He really loves drawing them. He draws her one every day. This is a sign to her that he believes somewhere, somehow, there is a bright side to all of this. Her fear is that if the rainbows start disappearing, his hope will diminish. It is very important to her that he keeps drawing those rainbows. Blake’s doctor told her to remember that when he is out playing that he is not a normal kid. He will always need special care and love. He is a miracle.
Blake needs a kidney immediately. He is a truly amazing child and deserves a fair shot at a normal healthy life. He is a child that has endured so much pain, more than most adults have dealt with in their lifetime. Please help this little man get his kidney so the rainbows do not disappear.
If you are interested in seeing if you are a match for Blake please visit the University of Chicago’s website: http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/transplant/kidney/donate.html Please fill out the health questionnaire and the application and send it back to The University of Chicago
For more information about Blake, please visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AMiracleForBlake
Originally written By: Joan Vujko Rohrman Revised By: Angela Vujko
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One thought on “Blake Loudenber, a 9 year old from Griffith, IN Tells his Kidney Story on CNN

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Bless you for doing this. I hope to God he gets that kidney. 8 years of a 9yo life…
    GREAT for you to give him voice.

    Reply

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