Woman Donates Kidney To 2-Year-Old Granddaughter and Saves Her Life

July 22, 2017
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A 2-year-old girl in Alabama has a new lease on life and it’s all thanks to a kidney donation from her 62-year-old grandmother, who was a perfect match.

Wryn Graydon was diagnosed at 2 months old with congenital nephrotic syndrome, which is a rare kidney disorder that the National Institutes of Health says is caused by genetic defects.

Wryn had to have both of her kidneys removed two months after the diagnosis and was put on dialysis at home, her father, Michael Graydon, said.

As doctors waited for Wryn to be old and strong enough for a kidney transplant, her family wondered whether any among them would be able to donate their own kidney.

Everybody wanted to be a match so bad,” Graydon told ABC News. “My wife [Haley] and I didn’t know who to choose to get tested first. I had kidney stones so I knew I wouldn’t be a possibility and my wife was the primary caregiver, so they wouldn’t let her do it.”

Graydon’s parents, Carol and Mike, were among the first family members to be tested. After extensive testing, it was Grandmother Carol Graydon, 62, who came back as a perfect match for her granddaughter.

Carol Graydon’s was told she had the kidneys of a 20-year-old — she was healthy and the Doctor allowed her to move forward as Wryn’s donor.

“Having a living and a related donor allowed us to schedule the transplant as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Dan Feig, division director of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who treated Wryn. “A very, very healthy 62-year-old is terrific so we were thrilled to be able to move forward.”

Graydon found out his Mother could be Wryn’s kidney donor when Carol, who lives in the neighboring town of Springville, Alabama, surprised him at work to share the news.

There are so many emotions that hit you,” he said. “We’re big believers in God so we trust in him. But from the medical side we know what can go wrong and this was my mom and daughter.”

Mike said his wife had “no hesitation” about being the donor for Wryn.

There was no hesitation at all,” he said. “There were concerns also but when you weigh being able to give the gift that will change Wryn’s life for many years to come, and also Michael’s and Haley’s.”

Carol Graydon and Wryn underwent their kidney transplant at neighboring hospitals in Birmingham. While Graydon waited at the bedside of Wryn, his father texted him updates from Carol Graydon’s surgery.“He was sending me texts, ‘The incision is done. The kidney is out and headed your way,’” Graydon recalled.

After the close to three-hour procedure, the kidney transplant between grandmother and granddaughter was declared a success.

“When my mom was able to come over in her wheelchair and see Wryn, it’s almost like they had some type of immediate connection,” Graydon said. “They were already close to begin with but Wryn just perked up that day and was very happy and laughing and being her normal self after seeing my mom.”

Mike Graydon said that his wife was “adamant” about seeing Wryn quickly after the transplant, and described the emotions of it all.

The first time I saw her, and I wasn’t even the donor, I had to back away because it’s just so much emotion,” he said. “I had to gather myself before I went back to her.”

Wryn is awaiting to be discharged from the hospital and then will go home to live a normal life, without the constraints of dialysis.

An average kidney transplant lasts about 15 years so Wryn will likely need another transplant but for now is doing “terrifically well,” Dr. Feig said.

Carol Graydon is now recovering at home and dealing with a side effect of being a kidney donor – exhaustion. However, the family is also bracing for a positive side effect from Wryn’s receiving a kidney: energy.

“We’re excited about it but also scared,” Graydon said of him and his wife, who also have a 5-year-old daughter. “She was already our wild child.”

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