6-year-old in Cedar Rapids needs kidney to grow up

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 11:25 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Six-year-old Jakori Johnson and his mother are desperately searching for a kidney donor.

”I like to play basketball. I even like spending time with my grandma,” Jakori told us.

The Cedar Rapids boy is the youngest of three brothers. He seems like a typical 6-year-old, but he’s spent much of his life in the hospital receiving dialysis because he was born without a functioning kidney.

”He was born with end stage renal failure due to urethral atresia he had no amniotic fluid so I had to go to Ohio every two weeks to get amniotic infusions,” said Amanda Johson, Jakori’s mom.

She’s been fighting for his life even before he was born. Jakori received a hopeful kidney transplant a few years ago, but a sickness caused his body to reject it. His mother has looked into giving hers but she’s not a good match. They’re having trouble finding a donor.

”We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making sure he’s alive and we want to keep him that way. He’s running out of port sites which is where they do the dialysis from. So without those port sites and without a kidney, he doesn’t get to grow up,” said Johnson.

Jakori is blood type O+. The Iowa Donor Network says 600 Iowans like Jakori are waiting for life saving organ transplants. They’re encouraging people to register to become donors.

”Organ donation truly is an incredible gift. We’re going into the season of giving and what greater gift is there than to give the gift of life,” said Heather Butterfield, Director of Strategic Communications at Iowa Donor Network.

Johnson says even if you can’t help her son you may be able to help someone else.

”I just want to urge people to fill out that donor form, fill them out. Because there’s people right here that need help,” Johnson explained.

The Iowa Donor Network helps coordinate organ donations after a donor has died. You can register to be a donor here. There are also opportunities to be a living donor, especially in the case of kidneys. To do that you need to contact the transplant center in your area, there is some testing involved to see if you are a match. In the Cedar Rapids area the transplant center is at the University of Iowa.