It’s a gift few can give.
“It’s out there,” Amanda Weber says. “We just gotta find it.”
Weber is searching for a new kidney for her son, Preston Tinter.
At 12 years old, Preston looks half his age. He stands just four feet tall.
Other children his age “have 12 inches on him,” Weber says.
Preston’s development was stunted before he was even born. He stopped growing in the womb; forcing doctors to induce labor six weeks early.
His kidneys failed right away.
After 14 months of dialysis, Weber was able to donate one of her kidneys.
“We went really great for about five to six years and then things started to take a turn for the worse,” Weber said.
Urinary tract infections destroyed Preston’s bladder, which had also never fully developed.
Preston’s body can no longer support the donated kidney. “It loses steam every year,” Weber said.
Learn more about Preston here.
Doctors performed bladder reconstruction surgery this fall. It means Preston will never be able to use the bathroom. A catheter drains his surgically created stoma every three hours.
“It’s forever,” Weber said. She tears up talking about the basic functions her son has lost.
But the bladder reconstruction will hopefully prepare Preston for another kidney donation.
I helped him once,“ Weber said. “I can’t again.”
There are more than 100,000 people nationwide on the waiting list for kidney donations, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. In Minnesota, 2,276 people are waiting for a kidney donor.
Pediatric organ failure is rare. Children between the ages 11-16 make up less than one-percent of the waiting list.
Preston, who was not expected to live past his first birthday, has a slimmer chance than most of finding a donor. He’ll only match about three percent of the country.
“That’s devastating,” Weber said.
Their best hope is finding a living donor, which can shorten the waiting time. The University of Minnesota Medical Center boasts of being the world leader in living donor transplantation , having performed 4,000 such transplants.
But the number of living donations in the state is trending down. In 2015, 193 people donated an organ in Minnesota, the lowest amount in twenty years, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Weber blames a lack of awareness. “I think people are almost afraid.”
She won’t stop searching for the gift only a few can give.
“If I could I would, but now my job as a mother is to find that kidney for him no matter what it takes.”