A Miracle Donation: 5 Year Old Receives Kidney Transplant
In 2017, 2-year-old Jehudiel Mendoza Moreno’s health took a terrifying turn. A high fever that had lasted three days transformed into a severe bacterial infection, leaving him hospitalized on his third birthday. The dire situation continued to progress quickly: Jehudiel’s hands and feet were turning black. Doctors warned his mother, Maria Moreno Álvarez, of potential brain damage and lasting disabilities if he survived. Despite the scary news, she knew she would do whatever was needed to sustain her son’s life.
Jehudiel spent three months in a medically induced coma. It was a painful experience for Maria and her family as she watched her son rely on machines to stay alive. She sat beside him every day talking to him, playing his favorite cartoons and making sure he was never alone. After the infection was finally under control, the medical staff attempted to prepare Maria mentally and emotionally as they reversed the coma.
Doctors made the difficult decision to amputate some of Jehudiel’s fingers and part of his foot due to the bacterial damage. His kidneys had also suffered significant harm due to the medication during the comatose, leading to necessary, ongoing dialysis. Maria diligently managed Jehudiel’s dialysis at home for two years, waiting for a miracle.
And then, in December 2020, the call they had been waiting for came. A life-changing gift from an organ donor would change their lives and give them the relief they had been waiting so long to feel. Jehudiel received his kidney transplant and started his journey to health and recovery.
“Today, Jehudiel has a strong desire to live. He is a fighter,” Maria said. Her gratitude for the anonymous kidney donor knows no bounds. “I would love to meet them and thank them for their gift to my son.”
While Jehudiel is still too young to fully grasp the magnitude of his journey, the resilience of Maria and his older siblings has kept their family going. Despite these hardships and the fact that Jehudiel’s health will always be something that worries her, Maria maintains a smile. She knows her family is in a better place.
Jehudiel now dreams of being a policeman or a soldier. His future is wide open, and he has been able to live a life his family once feared may not be possible. In 2022, he ran the bases at a Reno Aces’ Home Run for Life game as fast as he could. An opportunity he may not have had if he wasn’t given the gift of a second chance by his organ donor.
This story of a mother’s love and the impact of the decision to be an organ donor is a powerful reminder of the importance of organ and tissue donation. Sadly, most people wait 3-5 years for a kidney transplant, and more than 90,000 individuals in the U.S. are waiting for a kidney donation. Jehudiel’s journey is a tribute to the gift of life, made possible by the compassion of an organ donor and their family.