Our Story

Our son, Spencer, is 18 years old and had Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease. Spencer had his kidney transplant as of January 20, 2023. Born premature, weighing only 3 pounds and 6 ounces, Spencer learned to fight early. After his first ultrasound, we were told he had only one healthy kidney, but we were assured that many people live a long healthy life with one kidney. As Spencer grew the first year, he quickly gained weight, soaring past his preemie milestones. However, things turned dramatically at 18 months when his weight began to decline. It took many terrifying months of testing and specialists to discover he was allergic to wheat, dairy and coconut. Following a gluten free and dairy free diet, Spencer began to thrive again.

The constant doctor appointments, lab work, specialists and surgeries Spencer endured the first three years of his life began to fade and for most of his childhood he has been healthy. Spencer has grown to be a hardworking young man with a huge heart and a sharp sense of humor. From an early age, he developed a passion for Marvel and Star Wars movies. He loves to go to opening nights at the theater and loves to stay up late catching the latest episode of the Mandalorian as soon as it streams. Spencer has been finding extra work to do after school since he was 14. He often would save his earnings for months to buy the newest Star Wars or Marvel Lego sets. He is a lifelong Boy Scout and has been loving his scouting adventure with the same group of friends he’s had since the first grade. He has a huge love for dogs and cats. His black lab Shadow, and cat Minnie Mouse, are his constant companions.

This past year we received the shock of a lifetime. At the age of 16, Spencer was diagnosed with Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease. The constant hospital visits and blood draws are back. Even after a transplant Spencer will face a lifetime of medical care, procedures and expenses. As Spencer and the rest of us struggle with our new normal, we are astounded at Spencer’s maturity and dignity as he manages his new reality. He remembers to take his medication twice a day, listens to the advice given, and for the most part, follows it. Spencer is surrounded by loving family and friends. Everyone that knows Spencer tells us what a lovely human he is. We are so proud of our son, and hope that his future will be bright.

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. COTA is the nation’s only fundraising organization solely dedicated to raising life-saving dollars in honor of transplant-needy children and young adults. 100% of each contribution made to COTA in honor of our patients helps meet transplant-related expenses. COTA’s services are free to our families, and gifts to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.