Young boy promotes "Gift of Life"

September 25, 2009 3:21:46 PM PDT
Kidney disease affects more than 26-million American adults. A new name is added to the waiting list for a kidney donation every 12 minutes. The biggest source of kidneys comes form deceased donors, but a young boy who says he is one of the lucky ones and didn't have to wait, is now helping others also get the 'Gift of Life. ' Gabriel Clark appears to be a typical 11-year-old boy. He likes playing tag with his friend Samuel and he's a budding artist. But the first three years of Gabriel's life were anything but typical.

"Gabe was sick when he was born," his grandmother Patricia Davis said, adding even before he was born Gabriel's parents were told one of his kidneys didn't work and the other was only 20-percent working.

Gabriel says he doesn't remember much, but he does recall having a feeding tube. "I had to do it through my nose. I really hated it," he said.

He had that tube for at least three years, until he was healthy enough at age 2 and a half for a kidney transplant. Thankfully his father was a match and he donated one of his kidneys. It saved Gabriel's life.

"I'm grateful, I'm really grateful, " he said. And although he now has to take anti-rejection pills every day, it doesn't get him down. He uses his charisma to give back. He helps the National Kidney Foundation. He wrote an essay to raise awareness about kidney disease for school and he tells his story to inspire others to sign up to become organ donors.

"It's great, anytime you can see organ donation really make a difference for someone [it helps,]" said Brian Disheimer of the National Kidney Foundation.

Davis said, "It doesn't make a difference what walk of life you are, what color you are, it's a gift. It's makes such a difference."

The National Kidney Foundation's goal is to eliminate the wait for organ donation within the next ten years. Gabriel and his grandmother will be supporting that mission, along with hundreds of other walkers at the "Kidney Walk." It's at the Philadelphia Zoo on October 4th.

If you'd like more information, visit www.kidney.org

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