Blake received a kidney transplant on January 18, 2016 from a school nurse, Laurie, who happened to see the Facebook page his family created to help find a donor.
In utero we knew Blake only had one kidney and it was severely damaged from Hydronephrosis. He was in end stage renal failure officially at 2 days old.
Our son had a tough journey from the start. I spent several weeks on bed rest while pregnant. Blake went into kidney failure and at 3 days old had surgery to have his dialysis catheter placed. We were in and out of the hospital and his first year he spent 135 days at Cardinal Glennon Childrens Hospital waiting to be big enough for his kidney transplant.
Our lives have completely changed since Blake’s donor, Laurie, came forward to be tested. We did not know each other before transplant but 2 years later our families are so close. Laurie knew all about kidney transplants because her mom, Nancy, was a recipient. Sadly, Laurie’s mom passed away but she still wanted to be tested to donate her kidney. She saw Blake’s story on his community Facebook page (Brave Blake’s Battle) and sent a message asking how to be tested. After months and months of testing she was a perfect match for our little guy. The ironic part is Laurie was a school nurse at the elementary school I went to and we even had mutual friends.
Blake and Laurie had a speedy recovery post surgery. Blake went from a very sick baby on dialysis anywhere from 12-24 hours a day, tube fed and lethargic to a happy, energetic little boy that is tube free and eats everything in site. Laurie’s labs 2 years later are exactly the same with one kidney as they were with 2 kidneys. They are both doing amazing and we are so grateful for the gift of life for our son.
I wish more people understood, there is simply not enough organ support to go around. There are over 100,000 people waiting for kidneys alone. Make your wishes known to your family and register as a donor. If you’ve ever thought about saving someone’s life as a living donor, talk to someone like Laurie who has been there and can answer your questions. She’s so happy she’s donated and said if she had another kidney she would do it all again.
Blake Bahr - Transplant Recipient
Laurie Jansen - Kidney Donor
Location: Saint Louis, MO