Patients at Rady Children’s Hospital rang in the holidays Sunday with a festive party, celebrating those going through kidney transplants as well as donors who have helped save young lives.
The kidney treatment group at Rady Children’s is a tight knit community. Kidney disease has no cure and dialysis is not a long term solution for children, so kidney transplants are common, said Elizabeth Ingulli, the Medical Director of the Kidney Transplant Program.
Kids and their families travel from all over the world to receive transplants and treatment at Rady Children’s.
Jakoden Diopulos is an eighth grade student from Saipan, an island in the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
“I woke up and I was like I feel a little sick, so I couldn’t eat,” Diopulos said.
After several medical tests, doctors told him he needed a new kidney in order to live. He and his father left their family in Saipan, traveled thousands of miles to San Diego, and now live near Rady Children’s while Diopulos receives treatment and recently a transplant.
“I feel so happy because I got a new kidney on my birthday and I feel much better than before,” Diopulos said about his October transplant.
All in all, Diopulos said San Diego is a little too cold for his liking, but he’s glad to be feeling good again.
Donations like his are made possible by donors like Allison Holguim, who was presented with a living donor award for donating one of her kidneys to another young boy at Rady Children’s.
As for Diopulos, he said he has big plans for the future.
“I want to be a soldier,” he said. “Because I want to help other people.”