Bella is my daughter. She's 13 and was diagnosed at age 5. She was Asymptomatic for a long time and we had no idea what "end stage" looked like. She is now in Stage 5. She's on 13 different medications and one that she has to drink. She struggled a lot with the drink. It made her throw up EVERY DAY. We have found a way that she tolerates it a little better. She is also on home injections for her hemoglobin levels which I give her. Bella has a phobia of needles. She cries and gets anxiety every time. As a mother it is a terrible feeling to know how terrified she is, how bad the medicine burns, and hear her cry but still give her the needle.
Most days she is tired, nauseous, cold, and just wants to enjoy being a teenager. With this disease, that isn't always an option. Despite everything she's been through, Bella is still a straight A student. On the honor roll and in all GT (gifted & talented) classes. She is in honors orchestra and takes violin lessons. She has taught herself how to play the ukulele and is getting very good at it. Her determination is an inspiration. I share updates and some videos and photos to a FB group called "Let's Get Bella a Kidney" if you'd like to go visit or join to get to know her better. She's an amazing kid. An awesome big sister to her 5 siblings and we all just love her to pieces.
Bella used to do karate and Jiu-jitsu. She loved it. She did it for years and was so proud. She had to quit this year. Her symptoms made it hard for her and once she gets a transplant it wouldn't be an option because it's a contact sport. I know it made her extremely sad to give it up. She made friends with the other kids. She had a great relationship with her coach.
We were hoping that Bella would be able to avoid dialysis. That is no longer an option. By the end of August she will be on Dialysis. A transplant would mean More days having fun. More time being a teenager and enjoying going to her friends without food restrictions and taking a bag full of medicine or getting too tired to have fun. She is only 13! This age is tough enough without this disease.We are always on edge because at any moment her bloodwork could indicate that she has to get a transfusion. It would give her some much needed peace of mind.
Please share Bella's story. We are running out of time to find a living donor. My only wish in life is for my children to have long, healthy lives. I will not stop fighting to help Bella have that. She deserves it! She's an amazing kid. She brings so much joy and light to our family. She has 5 siblings who love her so much and need her to be healthy so she can be the big sister she loves being.
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Bella Brittingham's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire
There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Of these, 100,000 await kidney transplants.
The median wait time for a kidney transplant is 3-5 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility, and where you live.
In 2014, 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. Of these, 11,570 came from deceased donors and 5,537 came from living donors.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant waitlist.
A kidney from a living donor lasts longer and begins functioning more quickly than a kidney from a deceased donor.
In 1995, kidney donation became minimally invasive with a procedure called laparoscopic nephrectomy, which only requires four small incisions. Hospital stay is typically only 3 days after this operation.
Not blood type compatible with your recipient to be a living donor? Kidney Paired Donation (the “kidney swap” program) enables incompatible candidates with a living donor to receive a kidney from a compatible donor.
Last year, over 700 living donor kidney transplants occurred using Kidney Paired Donation.
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