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Graham's Story

Going the Extra Mile for Grady’s Gang
Two days after our son was born my husband, Graham, and I learned that Grady was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney failure. We knew Grady had a birth defect half-way through our pregnancy and had so many questions about his future.

Over the past eight years, we have kept a close eye on his kidneys. In the spring of 2021, we received the unfortunate news that Grady’s kidney health was deteriorating once again, and that we should begin testing for a transplant to avoid dialysis treatment.

As our family prepared and underwent testing, we discovered that Graham was a match. We alerted Grady’s elementary school of his upcoming transplant and his impending absence from class.

The school responded with support and encouragement, offering to a host a ‘Spirit Week’ send-off in Grady’s honour so that every student could learn about kidney disease, transplant, and the importance of kidney health.

“École Julie-Riel is like an extended family,” says principal, Lyette Carriere. “We know that children do best when there is a support network of many people and we believe that our work goes far beyond academics. It was natural and essential to rally around one of our families and provide support to them throughout their challenging time.”

The Kidney Kare Spirit Week included “Wear Green for Grady” (Green being the ribbon colour for organ donation), Pyjama Day (because sleep is important for kidney health), Sports day (because staying active is important for kidney health), Superhero day (because organ donors are real-life superheroes), Sunglasses day (because Grady has a bright and sunny future) and Water day (because drinking water is essential for kidney health). On Grady’s last day of school, March 18, the school hosted a walk-by parade for students to wish Grady well and offer their encouragement.

The school community and staff have been unbelievable through this entire process. When Grady’s kidney function dropped, the school worked with us on ways they could help him. And then when the transplant was scheduled, the support they gave us was honestly so incredible. Normalizing kidney disease and helping kids understand what Grady was going through is the greatest gift they could give us. They really have gone above and beyond. We don’t know how we will ever repay them for everything they’ve done for us.

The school also encouraged students to make a one-time donation towards “Grady’s Gang”, Grady’s team at the Kidney Foundation’s annual Kidney Walk fundraising event – which Grady and our family have participated in since 2013. The support for Grady poured in through participation in the Spirit Week, as well as through donations, raising a grand-total of $2,036.40!

On April 1, 2021, Grady received his kidney transplant from his dad, and all went perfectly according to plan!
The whole organ donation experience exceeded our expectations. The medical team at Children’s Hospital did an incredible job preparing us for the transplant process, pre and post procedure. Seeing how incredible Grady has been feeling since the transplant has been remarkable.

We are incredibly grateful that Graham was a good match for Grady. The extensive testing and professionalism from by the Gift of Life team really does give you peace of mind that you are healthy and that it’s safe to donate. The recovery for Graham and Grady has been so incredibly positive and they’re both doing so well. The quality-of-life improvements in Grady, after this short time, really make this transplant experience that much more special and worth it.

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month. Every year, the Kidney Foundation dedicates the month to raising awareness for organ donation.

On Day 2 post-op, Grady told us that the transplant was the best day of his life. As a mother, you can’t ask for anything better than that. I hope more people consider becoming an organ donor.



You can support families, like the Batchelor’s, by singing up to be an organ donor at www.signupforlife.ca, finding more information on kidney health and organ donation by browsing our website, talking to your family and friends about your organ donation wishes, and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.