Local doctors: Major shortage of kidney donors

More than 40 local kids on waiting list

SAN DIEGO - More than 40 children in San Diego are waiting for a kidney transplant, and doctors say the list is getting longer due to a major shortage of donors.

Two-year-old Alexys Mejia has already undergone 14 surgeries, more than some adults will ever have in their lifetime.

She was born with a kidney disease and doctors had no choice but to remove both of her kidneys just two weeks after she was born.

Alexys goes to Rady Children's Hospital for dialysis four times a week. She was one of dozens of San Diego kids waiting for a new kidney.

Dr. Nadine Benador said, "We used to transplant our kids pretty fast and now it seems that we're waiting longer and longer. There [are] less people donating."

In Alexys' case, it turned out that her grandmother was a perfect match. A living donor, exactly what doctors say they need more of.

Theresa Lanzarotto told 10News, "When I was asked if I would donate, there was no question about it that I would."

Benador said, "We like small children to receive adult kidneys because their complication rate is less than when receiving a very small kidney."

The wait for Alexys isn't over, however. She's only 19 pounds and must weigh at least 22 to get the transplant. Her mother, grateful her child will soon have a kidney, begs others to consider being a donor.

Brittney Lanzarotto said, "If you can, if you're healthy, think about donating because it really could save someone's life."

About an hour into dialysis, Alexys is exhausted. She drifts in and out sleep. Her tiny eyelashes were soaked in tears from all the crying. Her grandmother soothed her. Until the day she can give her the ultimate gift of life.

Medical expert say most humans can survive with only one kidney. Anyone interested in becoming a donor can sign up to be a living donor or indicate they want to be a donor when receiving a driver's license.

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