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updated: 10/4/2011 4:52 AM

Carpentersville toddler needs a second kidney donation

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  • Nathan Saavedra will be three in November. He needs a kidney after the last donation failed. His family lives in Carpentersville.

       Nathan Saavedra will be three in November. He needs a kidney after the last donation failed. His family lives in Carpentersville.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Tina Saavedra holds her son Nathan, who will be 3 in November. He needs a kidney after the last donation failed.

       Tina Saavedra holds her son Nathan, who will be 3 in November. He needs a kidney after the last donation failed.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Nathan Saavedra works with physical therapist Sue Schmidt of Northwestern Illinois Association at his home in Carpentersville. The 3-year-old needs another kidney donation after the first failed.

       Nathan Saavedra works with physical therapist Sue Schmidt of Northwestern Illinois Association at his home in Carpentersville. The 3-year-old needs another kidney donation after the first failed.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Nathan Saavedra will be 3 in November. He needs a kidney after his rejected the one donated him last year. His family lives in Carpentersville.

       Nathan Saavedra will be 3 in November. He needs a kidney after his rejected the one donated him last year. His family lives in Carpentersville.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Carpentersville resident Chris Doing donated a kidney to a 2-year-old Nathan Saavedra, but it eventually was rejected. "You just try to stay upbeat and positive and hope for the best and pray for the best," he said. "There's certainly a disappointment that it didn't work out. But no regrets."

       Carpentersville resident Chris Doing donated a kidney to a 2-year-old Nathan Saavedra, but it eventually was rejected. "You just try to stay upbeat and positive and hope for the best and pray for the best," he said. "There's certainly a disappointment that it didn't work out. But no regrets."
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Nathan Saavedra works with physical therapist Sue Schmidt in his Carpentersville home Monday. He needs another kidney after the last donation failed.

       Nathan Saavedra works with physical therapist Sue Schmidt in his Carpentersville home Monday. He needs another kidney after the last donation failed.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Nathan Saavedra will be 3 in November. He needs a kidney after the last donation failed.

       Nathan Saavedra will be 3 in November. He needs a kidney after the last donation failed.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Nathan Saavedra, the 2-year-old Carpentersville boy who needs a kidney.

      Nathan Saavedra, the 2-year-old Carpentersville boy who needs a kidney.
    courtesy of the Saavedra family

  • Nathan Saavedra, the 2-year-old Carpentersville boy who needs a kidney.

      Nathan Saavedra, the 2-year-old Carpentersville boy who needs a kidney.
    courtesy of the Saavedra family

 
 

A Carpentersville mom is putting out a call to secure another angel, one who can donate another kidney to her 2-year-old son.

Nathan Saavedra suffers from "prune belly syndrome," a birth defect that causes an underdeveloped stomach and leads to other health issues, especially with the urinary tract and kidneys. As a result of the disease, Nathan also eats his meals through a feeding tube and is unable to walk.

Carpentersville resident Chris Doing stepped up in October 2010 to donate one of his kidneys to the little boy. But in March, doctors had to perform emergency surgery on Nathan and remove the kidney because it had twisted inside him and there was no blood flowing to it.

Doing hadn't expected things to go this way.

"You just try to stay upbeat and positive and hope for the best and pray for the best," he said. "There's certainly a disappointment that it didn't work out. But no regrets."

Nathan is now on dialysis 10 hours a night while he sleeps, his mother, Tina, said.

Since then, 40 of his nearly 2,000 Facebook friends have been tested as kidney donors for Nathan, and none of them was a match. His mother says he has a 2 percent chance of finding a compatible donor.

But Nathan is now undergoing monthly medical treatments at Children's Memorial Hospital that may increase his odds.

The treatments are meant to lower his antibodies so they don't fight off a kidney from a compatible donor. Nathan had his first treatment two months ago, but his family won't know the results for a few months.

"It's kind of an experiment to see if it's going to work," Tina Saavedra said.

Doing remains in touch with the family through Facebook and was inspired to donate his kidney after reading about Nathan's plight in a newspaper. The story also hit home because Doing's son Cole is six months older than Nathan. "It just tore up my heart to read about this family without hope and waiting on the generosity of strangers ... in order for her son to have a chance at life."

Although his kidney was rejected, Doing hopes his story encourages others to give the gift of life.

"Even if we get one more person to participate in the program, that is all we can ask for," he said.

People age 18 to 55 years old with Type B or O blood who have no history of heart disease or blood pressure problems are encouraged to see whether they can donate to Nathan. To start the process, get documentation of your blood type from your doctor and fax it to Children's Memorial Hospital at (773) 327-3937.

If you can't donate a kidney but would like to help the family financially, there is a fund at Harris Bank in Nathan's name.

You can also reach Nathan's mother through his Facebook page, "Nathan Saavedra's Fight," or by emailing nathansaa@aol.com.

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