Rady Children’s honors kidney donors

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Posted at 1:30 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 16:30:57-04

SAN DIEGO (KGVT) — Wednesday, Rady Children's Hospital honored those who've changed the lives of young people by donating a kidney.

The special celebration is in honor of Living Donor Day and kicks off National Donate Life Month.

Over the past two years, surgeons at Rady Children's performed 11 kidney transplants from a living donor to a patient.

During the ceremony, each recipient and donor received a medal from their nurses and doctors.

Some of the young patients waited months and even years on the transplant list.

"Dialysis is very rough on kids. It really impacts their life and their future and what this donation does is it gives them hope. It gives them a future," said Dr. Elizabeth Ingulli, the Medical Director of Rady Children's Kidney Transplant Program.

21-year-old Benjamin Lopez is one of the kidney transplant recipients who attended the ceremony.

Lopez said he started going into renal failure at the age of 14 and had to have both of his kidneys removed.

Last March, he received a kidney, donated by his father.

"I know that he really cared for me at that time to be able to do something like that... it really shows how far fatherly love can go," Lopez said.

Lopez said he's now able to play sports and work out again. He's also not in as much pain as before.

"I don't really say it a lot but I do appreciate him," he said.

Rady Children's said there are currently 23 young patients on the kidney waiting list in San Diego County.

For more information on the hospital's kidney transplant program, click here.