No matter how you look at it, 640 days is a long time. For Kingston Vang-Wraggs of Wausau, Wisconsin, it is a lifetime.
Kingston is just three years old, but he has already been through more medical trauma than most people will ever suffer. His troubles started when he was 3 months old and dad Tommy Wraggs noticed a bulge in the baby’s abdomen. At the hospital, they learned they were in for a long, difficult journey, and there was no guarantee of a positive outcome.
Kingston was diagnosed with an incredibly rare condition called congenital nephrotic syndrome. He was born with this ailment, which stops kidneys from filtering harmful toxins from his blood. Since there is no cure, Kingston would need a kidney transplant, but he was still too young and small to survive the surgery.
For the next year, Tommy made Kingston his top priority. Kingston’s mother left when he was 10 months old, so the newly-single dad threw himself into caring for the boy. He administered 20 medications every day, fed the child through a gastrostomy tube (G-tube), and drove for hours so Kingston could see his specialists.
Eventually, Kingston had to have both kidneys removed, which meant daily dialysis to filter his blood. He was surviving, but just barely, and doctors told Tommy to brace himself for the worst.
In 2020, Tommy noticed Kingston seemed uncomfortable. He says his “daddy instincts” took over, so he dropped everything and brought Kingston to the hospital. The next few days were a whirlwind, and Kingston nearly died. He was diagnosed with another rare condition, a flesh-eating bacterial infection in the area where his G-tube met his stomach.
Kingston suffered a cardiac arrest, but doctors and nurses brought him back. The next day, his doctor asked Tommy to sign a “do not resuscitate” order, but he said no.
“I refused,” said Tommy. “The way I saw it is, if (Kingston’s) willing to fight, I should be willing to fight and I’m his voice. He fought his way through it. How? None of us understand. But he’s here.”
Doctors gave Kingston less than a 2% chance of survival, but the little boy hung on! Incredibly, he fought off the infections and grew big and strong enough to have a kidney transplant in June 2022. The surgery went well, and Kingston is now on the road to recovery!
After 640 long days, Kingston was recently discharged from American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Hundreds of staff members were touched by his story while they cared for him, and they couldn’t wait to shower him with balloons, bubbles, posters, and gifts on his last day.
“There’s not a person in this hospital that this kid didn’t touch a part of their life,” Tommy said. “He was never just a patient to them. They say it takes a village. This one here, he’s proof.”
Tommy says he’ll now focus on picking up the pieces of their lives. He had to leave his job to take care of his son, but says it was a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. He has set up an online fundraiser to help pay for medical expenses.
“Kingston made me the best person I could be,” said the proud dad. “He saved me. I had a great job, a good career and everything but I don’t really think I started living and enjoying life until I went through this journey with him.”
Kingston is certainly a fighter who refused to give up. We can see where he gets it from — his dad is also not one to walk away from a fight!
Share this story to wish Kingston the best of health as he continues to recover.
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