MINNEAPOLIS - While most college students are enjoying a summer break from the books, 20-year old Brett Beattie of Apple Valley is recovering at the hospital after donating his kidney.
"I don't feel like I'm missing any organs," he chuckles in his room at the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital. "I've gotten a lot better the last few days."
The college student hardly knew what a kidney was up until this Spring when he found at he was the perfect match for Jackson, his 18-month old cousin born with chronic kidney failure already in stage five.
"It's pretty cool that you can give one away and still be fine," said Brett. "He really hasn't had a chance at life and I'd do anything for him."
Kidney transplants are nothing new at the U of M's Fairview Hospital, but what is rare is a transplant from a living adult donor for a young child.
"We only do one or two of these each year of patients this size," said transplant surgeon Dr. Srinath Chinnakotla. "It's difficult to fit an adult kidney into a small child, but it's worth it."
In fact, doctors prefer adult donors for children.
"The child significantly benefits," he says. "We've done studies on this and the development is improved the activities are improved, the child is completely transformed.
It's the procedure that likely saved the life of little Jackson.
"It's amazing to think that my kidney can fit and him and he'll be fine," says Brett. "It was totally worth it."
For more information on organ donation click here for the Donate Life website.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)