Belle Helton


Born Nov. 12, 2004, Belle Helton was diagnosed just a month later with congenital nephrotic syndrome, in which an abnormal protein in the urine causes the body to swell. Belle’s parents, Kyle and Michelle, were told their daughter’s kidneys would not last longer than 18 months. As the Heltons approached the first anniversary of Belle’s diagnosis, doctors said she showed unexplained improvement—while she still had the disease, it was not damaging her kidneys. Then, in March 2010, 5-year-old Belle experienced renal failure and started dialysis. Though both parents were a perfect match, they decided Michelle would donate her kidney. Before moving forward, however, Michelle had to undergo a mammogram. She learned she had two malignant tumors in her left breast—something that could have gone undiagnosed for years if her daughter had not needed a transplant. Belle’s surgery was put on hold as Michelle received aggressive doses of radiation and chemotherapy. Because Michelle was undergoing treatment, in February 2012, Kyle gave his kidney to his daughter, who is now a thriving 8-year-old.


Video: Meet Belle

Meet BelleView

At just one month old, Belle's parents were told her kidneys wouldn't make it to her second birthday. But then her condition inexplicably began to improve - for a few years anyway. By the time Belle was five, her kidneys failed her and she began dialysis. As Belle's mother prepared to give her a kidney to save her life, little did anyone know it would save her life as well.

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