Sixteen-year-old Sam loves to race bikes. He has done it since he was 6 years old and was even named one of the top 10 BMX racers in the country. But chronic high blood pressure and recurring headaches were slowing him down—his physician thought it was migraines. At a checkup when he was 10 years old, Sam’s blood pressure was extremely high, and he had blood and protein in his urine— warning signs of kidney failure.
A few weeks later, he took a turn for the worse when he went into cardiac arrest and almost died. The Children’s Kidney Transplant team worked quickly to save his life but dialysis and a kidney transplant were his only hope. Sam went on a strict diet and became extremely thin.
For the next six months, dialysis kept him alive. Sam got to know the kidney team and told them how much he wanted to ride his bike again. But he still needed a transplant.
Sam's aunt volunteered to donate one of her kidneys, and the transplant was a success.
Now, Sam’s aunt is a spokesperson for living donation. And she loves to watch Sam race bikes. Best of all, he’s back doing what he loves thanks to Children’s and the special gift from his aunt. He has a new nickname at the bike track—Surplus Sam—because he’s got a new kidney and extra passion for life.