A kindhearted mother has given her toddler the gift of life this Thanksgiving after donating one of her kidneys.
Jace Josephson, 2, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which means that side of the heart does not develop correctly.
The brave toddler underwent two major heart operations before he was 7 months old to insert shunts to help balance the blood flow.
But Jace went into cardiac arrest ahead of his third surgery in August 2017, and doctors determined he would need a heart transplant to survive.
After 146 days on life support, Jace was the recipient of a donor heart on January 27, but the surgery placed extreme pressure on his kidneys, causing them to fail.
Jace’s mother, Akasha Josephson, 23, was overjoyed when she discovered she was a suitable match to donate a kidney after almost 10 months of dialysis.
Josephson, a criminal justice student, and Jace underwent the surgery to transplant her left kidney on Nov. 19, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Josephson, who is also mom to Lilliona, 4, said: “I feel so relieved that I was able to do this for him."
“He is an amazing, positive little boy and he never stops smiling. I’m a little sore but it was only keyhole surgery," she said. “They put it into Jace and the kidney made urine straight away which is amazing. He’s been through so much, it’s so hard for any toddler to be in hospital but he has an incredible spirit.”
Jace’s surgeries have weakened his lungs and the 2-year-old lives with a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe.
His doctors at the Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Mary's Campus in Minn., believe it won’t be a permanent fixture in his life.
Although he will remain on immunosuppressants for the remainder of his life to prevent his organs rejecting, doctors believe he will lead a full and happy life.
The family is currently fundraising to gather $27,000, which will cover the cost of an emergency helicopter used to transport Jace between hospitals in Aug. 2017.
Akasha, of Rochester, Minnesota, will be discharged on Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving but it is likely her son will remain in hospital over the holidays.
However, Akasha is looking forward to a family Christmas at home with her laborer husband Timothy Josephson, 23, and their two kids.
She said: “I’m not sure what Jace wants from Santa but I’m sure he’ll figure it out.
“I’m just looking forward to a Christmas at home with my family. Jace was in hospital last year awaiting his transplant.
“It will be nice to have my kids together and my husband."