Mother to give son a second gift of life

By DEB WUETHRICHTecumseh High School senior Brandon Rodgers had a pretty normal childhood despite the fact that he was born with End Stage Renal Disease and did not have function of his right kidney. Brandon’s mother, Carol, said that because of the disease, Brandon had to keep regular medical appointments for check-ups, but he had the use of his left kidney.“They thought he might just grow out of it,” she said.Brandon said he did not, however, and at the age of 10, his right kidney was surgically removed. He still functioned pretty normally with his remaining kidney, he said, until his left kidney began to fail a short time ago. The problem has quickly moved him into the arena of needing a kidney transplant. Doctors at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor have recommended the procedure.“I had to go on hemodialysis for a few weeks, but then I was able to start peritoneal dialysis at home,” Brandon said, adding that he is hooked up to a machine for 10 hours each night. “Most processes deal with the blood, but my machine just fills me up with solution and then drains it. The machine doesn’t really do it, my body does it. The solution in my body attracts the bad things and separates them from the good.” While the process can be a nuisance because Brandon, 18, has to stay at home and be hooked up when he might rather be out with friends or staying over at a friend’s house, he said it is not painful. His family is grateful that the process can take place at home, however, and on their schedule.When they learned their son needed a transplant, Brandon’s mom, Carol Ann, and father, Sean, both were tested. To their amazement, both were a match, which is extremely rare for both parents to be compatible. The family then made the decision that Carol Ann would be the one to donate the kidney.“We’re hoping it can happen sometime in May or June,” she said. Brandon is currently awaiting a surgery to correct a bladder issue, and the transplant can’t be done until two months after that. With the cost of a transplant, which Brandon said can be $250,000 and up, the Rodgers family is working with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) in order to raise an estimated $40,000 portion of the funds. COTA is a national nonprofit charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-needy patients. The group accepts donations through checks or money orders made payable to COTA, with “In Honor of Brandon K.R.” written on the memo line, and sent to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403. Secure credit card donations are also accepted online at Donations are tax deductible.Fundraising activities within the Tecumseh community are also underway, including a special St. Patrick’s Day Taco/Nacho Lunch to be held Saturday, March 17, from 12-2 p.m., along with a bake sale in the Tecumseh High School Cafetorium. The Sports Hut is also creating green T-shirts with “I support Brandon and his kidney transplant” and a ribbon design since green is the color of kidney awareness. Thursday, March 8, was actually Kidney Awareness Day, and Sports Hut owner Janelle McClure, who has been volunteering to help Brandon’s family with fundraising, said that the store held “Brandon Rodgers Day” that day with a percentage of sale proceeds going to COTA. “My daughter, Merissa, has been dating Brandon for about a year, and we just wanted to help him out any way we can,” said McClure. The T-shirts sell for $12, and Brandon said a lot of kids at school and elsewhere have indicated an interest in the shirts. There are also donation boxes on counters in some retail stores with Brandon’s picture on them in Tecumseh.Asked how his kidney disease has affected his life, Brandon keeps a pretty positive attitude.“It’s not as bad as it could be because I’m pretty good about it myself, taking the medicine and eating right and everything, but it is hard,” he admits. “Other kids who have something like this might be struggling more than I am, but it’s definitely hard, because you can’t just live the same life you used to.” He said he tires easily.Carol Ann said they don’t believe the disease is genetic, and Brandon’s younger brothers, Bryan, 13, and Brent, 8, do not have the disorder. “We’re not sure how this all came about,” she said. Once she found out she was compatible as a donor, Carol Ann said there was never a question that she would give her son the gift of life. “There was never a doubt in my mind that I would do it.”After the surgery, both Brandon and Carol Ann will need six to eight weeks to recover. Brandon said he would have to be on some pretty heavy doses of medication.“I’ll have to take a lot,” he said. “Since it’s not my kidney, my body will want to destroy it. The medicine will help my body keep it and make sure it keeps working. If I miss one dose, that could mess it up so I’ve got to stay right on top of it.”He said he has to remain isolated for the six weeks to build up his immune system, but he could have visitors if they wore masks. Brandon is just eager now to get through his current medical problem and on to the transplant. After graduation, he is considering pursuing a career in a medical area or accounting.Brandon’s father is the pastor at the Tecumseh Church of God, and Carol Ann said the family’s faith has played a big role in helping them through Brandon’s ordeal. “Faith has played a huge role,” she said. Brandon also participates in youth groups at the Tecumseh Church of God and Crossroads Community Church in Adrian, and the Tecumseh Church of God. He has a beyond-his-years perspective on his situation.“Some people say, ‘Why doesn’t God heal you?’” he said. “But sometimes maybe it’s something we have to go through, and the fact that my mom is a match — maybe that’s the miracle. A lot of people don’t look at the little things.”

Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

Email Us


Latest articles

Please Login for Premium Content