Seventeen-year-old Cooper Moore, a junior from Collegedale Academy, is in need of a kidney transplant. According to his mother, Tami Lloyd, live donors must be between the ages of 18 and 55 and have blood types O- or O+ to undergo the transplant process, which is free to the donor. They must also be physically and mentally healthy, with a BMI of under 35, and no history of diabetes, hypertension, cancer or other diseases.
Lloyd said Moore has struggled since birth with chronic kidney issues resulting from an outlet obstruction in his urinary system during utero. Although the blockage was removed after birth, the damage to both kidneys was extensive. Lloyd said Moore has depended entirely on the function of his right kidney since birth, though it was enlarged as a result of the blockage.
According to Lloyd, Moore’s kidney function has declined within the last six months. By December 2021, function had dropped to between 15% and 20%. The kidney function level required Moore to be placed on the National Kidney Donor Registry. Lloyd said Moore was successfully added to the registry on Friday, March 25, but wait time for a donor can be up to one year, even though the process is expedited for pediatrics.
“If we don’t do anything fast — and it may not be fast — then he may end up on dialysis before we can get that transplant, because we don’t have a living donor,” Lloyd said. “Some people are lucky to find that living donor, but we haven’t found one yet.”
Lloyd said all her family members, including her, have undergone tests to see if they could be a possible match. So far, there are no potential matches within Moore’s family.
Moore, who said he enjoys playing softball, football and video games and is considering studying history in college, shared his thoughts about his kidney issues.
“I’ve dealt with it my whole life,” Moore said. “It’s not really anything new. It’s just one step more. Eventually, [the transplant is] going to happen. … It’s like having a math test. … You don’t want to do [it], but [you’ve] got to do it.”
Lloyd also recognized the inevitability of the transplant.
“We don’t have a choice,” Lloyd said. “I mean, he would prefer not to go through any of this. None of us would… But you’re never ready. You’re never ready when they say it’s time. So now we’ll be waiting for that phone call.”
According to Lloyd, people interested in donating a kidney to Moore can visit tinyurl.com/findAMatchForCooper to fill out the living donor intake form. The form includes a medical questionnaire and will allow the donor to indicate that they wish to donate to Cooper Moore. Potential donors will then receive a blood testing kit from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. If they have blood types O+ or O-, they will undergo a physical, further blood testing and ultrasounds. Once the transplant has taken place, living donors will spend two to three days in the hospital. Afterwards, their kidney function can be monitored by a primary care doctor.
Although the transplant process is free to the donor, according to Vanderbilt University’s kidney donation video, donors will be expected to travel to Vanderbilt, attend pre-surgery appointments and take four to six weeks off work during the transplant process.
Donating a kidney is relatively safe, according to the Mayo Clinic and other sources, but it does pose some health risks. The following are some risks outlined by Weill Cornell Medicine, the medical college at Cornell University:
- Blood clots
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Developing a disease that could affect the function of the remaining kidney such as:
- High blood pressure
- Natural decline in kidney function with age
- Increase in the amount of protein spilled into the urine