Family Finds Possible Kidney Match For Ailing Son
Last June while on vacation with his family, 3-year-old Austin Jones suddenly became ill with flu-like symptoms. The young boy’s parents, Cortney and Ben Jones, became concerned when he was not recovering. After many visits, doctors discovered that Austin had contracted E. coli, which was weakening his digestive system and attacking his kidneys.
He was soon diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Austin needed to be on dialysis daily and his parents started looking for a kidney transplant. Cortney was a close match and pegged as the likely donor.
In early March the family hit a bump in the road. Cortney had stones in both kidneys and could no longer donate a kidney to her son.
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The bad news sent the family scrambling while Austin's situation was in disarray. Luckily, help came calling, and it was close to home.
Austin’s uncle, Jacob Jones, was a near-perfect match.
“I was really disappointed, but it gave me a lot of hope when, in the same moment that I found out that I was not able to give my kidney, they informed me that my brother-in-law was a good match,” Cortney said.
There are more CT scans set for Jacob, which should answer whether or not he can help his nephew. If the tests come out positive, Austin will be able to have a functioning kidney and carry on a more normal life.
“I want to do this for the family. I have to do this,” said Jacob, a 25-year-old law student at Arizona State University.
A life-threatening kidney condition is a struggle for anybody, but for a young boy it poses a special challenge.
“He doesn’t like going to dialysis, and he tells me he doesn’t want to go” Cortney said.
This situation has been difficult for his sister Emma as well.
“This whole thing has been really hard on her, but she is doing remarkably well,” said Cortney.
Cortney and Ben estimate the cost of the transplant and post care are more than $50,000. Post care expenses include anti-rejection medication and regular doctor visits. In order to alleviate some of the financial burden, the Jones family has found creative ways to raise money.
“We are selling shirts, bracelets. Volunteers are having a dinner auction in New York, family and friends are doing one in Washington and people are doing car washes in Thousand Oaks,” Cortney said.
So far Cortney and Ben have raised nearly $10,000 with the help of Children’s Organ Transplant Organization, church members and friends. Even though $10,000 seems like a big chunk, they still need about $40,000 more. In the near future Cortney plans to put together a local fundraiser that would take place after Austin’s transplant to further aid in the medical costs.