Children's Health

North Carolina family seeks kidney donor for toddler

  • (image courtesy Brandy Angel Photography)

    (image courtesy Brandy Angel Photography)  (BrandyAngelPhotography)

  • (Facebook/Kidney for Hazel)

    (Facebook/Kidney for Hazel)

Hazel Kate Niemitalo is only 16 months old, but she needs an adult organ to have a normal life. The Archdale, North Carolina toddler ‘s kidneys aren’t functioning correctly, so her family is searching for a donor.

Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center diagnosed Hazel with congenital nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish type after she began having seizures as a newborn, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. A mutation prevents her kidneys from properly filtering proteins.

Hazel’s parents, Maria and Kenny, were tested, but are not matches. As a finalist on the competition show “American Ninja Warrior,” Kenny used the show to share his daughter’s story, but a donor has yet to step forward.

For now, Hazel is living in the hospital and doctors are waiting for her to grow to 22 pounds, the ideal transplant weight, according to the Kidney for Hazel Facebook page.  The family is hoping for a living donor and are aiming to have her kidneys removed without having her go on dialysis.

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Hazel has been accepted for the paired donation program, also known as a “kidney swap,” wherein a living kidney donor incompatible with a recipient exchanges with another donor/recipient pair. The program aims to result in two live kidney donations.

Potential donors should reach out to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center at 336-716-0548. Her blood type is O+.