In just over two years of life, Dane Conrads has suffered more health problems than some people decades older. After contracting a virus when he was just a week old, many of his major organs shut down, and although he made an astonishing recovery, his kidneys never fully healed. Now, the "Kidney for Dane" Campaign has been launched to find him a kidney donor — a difficult path made even more challenging by Dane's medical history.
On the campaign's Facebook page, Dane's parents explain that he has undergone dialysis every night since he came home from the hospital, which has delayed his development. "While older people can survive for years on dialysis, it is really hard on a child's body as they are also trying to grow and develop," they write. As a result, Dane needs a kidney transplant to have a chance of developing normally.
Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. The veins Dane has to support an adult kidney were damaged by the numerous surgeries he had as an infant, so his body would reject a donation from an adult, even someone with a small frame. "The only possible way for Dane to get a transplant is to receive a small kidney from a deceased donor," Dane's father, Ted Conrads, writes on Medium. The family made a video explaining Dane's situation in more detail, which you can watch below.
The National Kidney Foundation reports that there are more than 100,000 people currently on the kidney donor waiting list, and according to the Living Kidney Donor Network, the wait for a deceased donor is typically at least five years. There are a number of factors further complicating Dane's chances of receiving a donation, too, including his blood type, the need for a deceased donor, and his complicated medical history. That's why the Conrads family turned to the internet to spread the word; his parents are hoping to find a donor by reaching as wide an audience as possible.
"What we need to find is a needle in a haystack ASAP. ... This will only arise out of the serious misfortune of another family going through an unfathomable tragedy," Conrads writes on Medium. "But we hope to get the word out now so that families dealing with such circumstances may find comfort in knowing that they can provide life to a child in need."
So how can you help? It largely comes down to sharing Dane's situation in the hopes that a direct donor can be found. So far, the campaign's the video has been viewed more than 28,000 times, and the Facebook page has received just over 900 likes. To learn more, head over to the "Kidney for Dane" Facebook page.
Image: Kidney for Dane/Facebook