Update: Doctors and staff at University Transplant Center in San Antonio say that since Leland’s story was made public, more than 300 people have signed up to learn if they might be a potential match for him.
Still, doctors would need to wait – let’s be blunt here – for donors to die and these kids need organs now. Shen is appealing to live donors.
“And so that is a possibility with kidneys and amazingly now, you can take an adult kidney and even use it in somebody Leland’s size,” Shen says.
Leland is small, he’s only 5. He sits on his foster mom Lauren’s lap. (We’re not using their last names to protect their identities.) Leland’s diet is limited, and even with dialysis three times a week, doctors don’t want to overwork his system. So he indulges in one cheese stick a day.
“How many will you eat after you get your kidney, when you can have as many as you want?” Lauren asks. Ten fingers go up, “Ten! Whoa, that’s a lot of cheese sticks!”
CPS put on a full-blown media campaign to get Leland’s story out. The press release had a picture of him dressed as a cowboy and it talked about how his biggest dream is to go down a slide in a water park – because – his dialysis catheter prevents him from going in a pool.
Even if he gets a kidney right now, his catheter is failing and his body cannot handle a new one.
Julie Moody, spokesperson for CPS, says the state decided to reach out to the media to help Leland.
“Because we are Leland’s parents and if Leland was my own son, I would do the same thing, I would tell everyone in the world that we need everyone’s help in finding a kidney donor,” Moody says.
In the absence of blood relatives, Leland’s doctors have struggled to find a match. The invitation is open to all Texans. Surgery expenses for the donor will be paid for.