Antony and Victoria Levin were the proud parents of three beautiful children. 16-year-old Jesse, 5-year-old Keegan, and 3-year-old Jade. Their life in England was one that most people in this world hope for. Then, one seemingly innocuous morning, something happened which changed their lives forever.
Jade Levin was sick, far sicker than her parents would have ever believed possible, and before her parents could even come to terms with the reality of their situation, her brother Keegan contracted the same affliction…
Little Jade Levin was only three years old. It was a normal morning and the little girl was standing in front of the TV, watching cartoons, when suddenly, she collapsed. Her parents took her over to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she underwent a battery of tests that lasted well into the next day.
Her parents soon learned the terrible news: Jade had been diagnosed with a degenerative kidney disease. It was hereditary, would be painful to experience and witness, and perhaps saddest of all, would result in Jade’s lifetime being shortened to four or five years at most. After that, her kidneys would shut down for good…
You see, it’s the kidneys’ job to clean out the blood of any toxins. People without this particular disease, might have 20 to 30 points of impurity within their blood, or even none at all. Poor little Jade’s blood had 800 points of impurity in her blood.
Sick of Them
Indeed, for many of her early years, Jade would remain on daily medication and a very careful diet. When she was three, she could eat just about the same foods as kids her age, like, cookies, and sweets, but as time wore on, those foods became impossible to eat as well…
By August of 2010, Jade was going for dialysis three days a week and had to have a central line fitting into her chest. Because of it, she couldn’t bathe properly, swim, or do any strenuous physical activity. It was exhausting for a four year old and time was running short.
About a year after Jade’s initial collapse, her older brother Keegan noticed some strange sensations too. He was tired all the time and it felt like his kidneys were on fire. As it turned out, he too shared the same genetic disorder as his little sister: and that wasn’t even the worst of it….
One Was Safe
To make matters worse, the kidney disease was progressive, meaning it was worse for each subsequent child. It seemed the Levin’s eldest son, 16-year-old Jesse, had dodged a bullet. Keegan’s however, showed up around the time he was five, but Jade was definitely the worst off of the bunch.
Hard to Watch
Meanwhile, Jade’s condition worsened with each passing day. Her father, Antony Levin, likened the progression of kidney failure to the way a car stutters when you fill the tank with bad gas. Bad blood is much the same, it makes people change, makes you run slower. As if that weren’t all enough, the doctors got more bad news…
No More Children
Any other children the couple wanted would result in a child with effectively no chance of survival. Still, it’s not like Vicky and Antony were planning any other children. They were having a hard enough time watching their son and daughter slowly succumb to the disease.
Though neither parents had exhibited any outward signs of the disease, both parents were in fact carriers. It was that lethal combination that led to their children all contracting the disease. Still, it didn’t help at all to think about what might have been. Not when the day they were dreading was rapidly approaching…
The Day Comes
Antony and Vicky always knew that the day would eventually come when little Jade would need a new kidney. It wasn’t going to be an easy thing to secure the replacement organ either. “I would always have given any child of mine a kidney if it was a match.” explained Antony Levin. Though he didn’t realize that moment nearly upon them.
No Way To Know
Antony was compatible but there were still a few problems. First, they still had two children who would both need a kidney at some point. Then of course there was the fact that even if they could choose, they never knew which child would need a kidney first. Jade’s condition eventually worsened and the decision was made for them…
The Ultimate Dilemma
The 47-year-old hotel manager from Reading was faced with the ultimate dilemma: he had to choose which of his children’s lives to save. Sure, Jade needed the kidney first, but he knew that by saving her and giving her his kidney, he was condemning his son Keegan to an uncertain future.
One of the key factors is finding a compatible kidney has to do with the six antigens we get from our parents. In a very rare twist, all six of Antony’s antigens matched Jade’s. It was the perfect match for his little girl and even though it was dangerous for both parties, it was her only hope. So Antony started a four-month program to get his body ready…
Unfortunately, there was a slight problem with Antony’s kidney. You see, he had spent some time in Africa and had contracted some form of hepatitis briefly. The virus was dormant but was still inside his blood. There was a small chance that Jade might be infected, but the match was too good not to chance.
The day of the surgery was a tense one and both Antony and Victoria knew that it was entirely possible neither he nor Jade might make it through the complicated procedure. After saying their goodbyes, the father and daughter went under the knife together. Twelve hours later, Antony awoke to unfathomable news…
Apparently, Antony had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic and didn’t wake up for nearly 12 hours. His daughter on the other hand, was doing fine. The kidney had started working as soon as it went in, almost as soon as Jade was on the operating table. She would be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life, but she was alive and had a working kidney.
The road to recovery for both of them would be long. Though the surgery would take it’s toll most severely on Antony, whose body it seemed wasn’t too keen on having only one kidney after a lifetime of having two. Nevertheless, it had been worth it: his daughter had survived. And she would continue to thrive as the years passed…
Today, Jade is like any other healthy, bright 11-year-old, but the moment is bittersweet. Keegan is getting sicker by the day and is close to being on dialysis just as his sister was. He even had to give up soccer because every match landed him in bed recovering for a while day afterwards.
Keeping an Eye Out
In the end, Antony only had one kidney to give and did what he had to do to save his daughter’s life. Meanwhile, Keegan’s antigens are now on a database and the family is hoping a match will come up soon. All they can do is pray and hope that if the worse does come, that Keegan knows they did what they had to do.