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When Mandy Perry of Kingsburg, California, was pregnant with her son, doctors discovered a problem with his kidneys. The mom underwent several operations while Kaleb was still in utero, but on the day he was born, she was still shocked to learn that he had prune belly syndrome.
The rare disease meant Kaleb had an expanded bladder and issues with his upper urinary tract, including his kidneys. As a result, his young life has been fraught with illness.
In and out of the hospital, Kaleb has endured more poking and prodding than anyone should have to. Yet throughout everything, his parents said his inherent charm and good humor have made everyone fall in love with him.
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“Despite all that he went through, hospital stays and surgeries… he has never lost his joy,” Mandy told GMA. “He doesn’t let anything get him down. He definitely loves life.”
When Kaleb was 2 years old, his kidneys began to fail in earnest. Faced with constant dialysis treatments, his desperate mother decided to make a public plea for help on their Facebook page, “A Miracle for Kaleb.”
“Kaleb needs a kidney,” she wrote. “Will you consider being his hero?” The devoutly Christian family hoped for a miracle, and they got one!
Their miracle’s name was Susie LeRoy, a 35-year-old mother of three. She discovered Kaleb’s story on Facebook after a friend shared the organ request, and she instantly felt like she needed to step up to the challenge.
She headed to the hospital for a blood test and found that she was a perfect match! So she quickly sent Mandy a message and waited to see what would happen.
When Mandy saw the Facebook message, she couldn’t believe her eyes. “She said, ‘It looks like I’m going to be a good match for him,'” Mandy explained. “I was shocked. I thought, ‘Is this really happening?'”
Susie, who lives in Clovis, California, later shared that her worldview encouraged her to perform this incredible act of kindness.
“It was an opportunity for me to help out another mom and act out my faith,” she said. “Connecting with Mandy who has kids of a similar age, this could’ve easily been my kids. … If I have something which can save the life of their son, why not give them that?”
In May 2019, Kaleb and Susie entered Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for the transplant operation.
Both surgeries went well, and now Kaleb is back on the road to wellness!
He just celebrated his first full year with his kidney, and while his health concerns aren’t over, he has a “new life” thanks to Susie.
“Just wanted to update you all on Kaleb,” his mom wrote in July 2020. “Kaleb is doing great! Full of life, full of energy, eating great! Happy and healthy! He’s growing like crazy! I can’t believe how big my baby is now.”
The word “selfless” doesn’t come close to describing Susie’s actions! Kaleb has a shot at a long, healthy life now, and it couldn’t have happened without this heroic stranger.
Share this story to thank Susie for her incredible gift of life.
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