Eli Carter has a new kidney and a new lease on life.
In March the 10-year-old Sebastopol Primary pupil received a kidney transplant after congenital kidney disease left him with just 10 per cent of normal kidney function.
It was just before Christmas in 2015 that Ms Carter first noticed Eli was limping, but she put it down to blisters after Eli took part in a fun run at his then-school in Horsham.
But the limp persisted, and after a check-up at the doctors blood tests were ordered.
They showed that Eli was anaemic, had a bone problem and very low vitamin D levels, which started a whirlwind round of appointments and the diagnosis of kidney disease.
"I got a call from a Royal Children's Hospital nephrologist saying we had to come to Melbourne right now because his kidney only had 10 per cent function. I was in shock and I couldn't get to Melbourne ... so we went to Horsham hospital for more tests," Ms Carter said.
From then it was two-weekly visits by bus to the Royal Children's Hospital, and at the same time the pair were moving to Ballarat so Ms Carter could study.
Within a few months Eli was receiving dialysis to take over the function of his failing kidney, and he spent 2.5 years on dialysis before receiving the call in March that a donor kidney was available.
Within months Eli returned to his mates at Sebastopol Primary School full of energy, and on Tuesday the school held a special event to support Kidney Health Australia's Kidney Kindness fundraising campaign which aims to raise $100,000 to provide vital support to families devastated by kidney disease.
"It's wonderful to see Eli take part in normal school activities again like our weekly swimming program in Term 4, which he couldn't do before his transplant. He thoroughly enjoys taking part now and seeing his enjoyment and return to health is special for all of us," said Sebastopol Primary School principal Michelle Wilson.
#GivingTuesday has arrived and you can make a difference to the lives of people affected by #kidneydisease.— Kidney Health (@KidneyHealth) December 2, 2019
Every dollar you donate will be doubled until we hit our target of $100K.#GiveKidneyKindness today and have your impact doubled. https://t.co/9yJcW02d4Gpic.twitter.com/U5hceGqo0O
School pupils wore red and donated a gold coin to support the fundraiser, and the whole school heard about the importance of kidney health from KHA chief executive Chris Forbes and ambassador Grant Monks.
The Kidney Kindness campaign coincided with Giving Tuesday, which Mr Forbes said was a global generosity movement uniting individuals and communities to go all out on one day to fundraise for organisations that need their support.
"We're asking the community to dig deep as their donations will be doubled until we hit our target of $100,000, thanks to our generous matched funders," Mr Forbes said.
"We have a real fight on our hands to get people diagnosed earlier and provide the level of support families like Eli's need when they are faced with a serious diagnosis out of the blue, so funding is vital for us to deliver these services."
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