"Superman" Uncle Donates Kidney to his Niece
Devin Penny, a family practice doctor from Wichita, was now the patient. He had some anxiety.
"Scared for going into a surgery with little risk, but real risk," Dr. Penny said.
He didn't need to have the operation. It could have been his sister, Tiara Hodges-Ewing, from Lee's Summit. Her two-year-old daughter Lacy was born with badly malformed kidneys. At one point before birth, doctors didn't even think she had kidneys. Last year, Hodges-Ewing learned she could give Lacy a kidney. But that meant she'd be recovering and unable to care for her daughter after the transplant.
"He was like, 'This is ridiculous that you would even do that.' He was like, 'Why don't I do it?'" recalled Hodges-Ewing.
It turns out that Dr. Penny was a slightly better match for his niece. The father of three and his wife mulled over the risks. The decision came down to this.
"There's a lot of times in your life when you wish you had an opportunity to let someone know how much you love 'em and actions speak louder than words. You can say it all the time," Dr. Penny said.
"He said this is about you, and I wanted to show you how much I love you," Hodges-Ewing said.
So doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital removed one of Dr. Penny's kidneys. It was transported to Children's Mercy and transplanted into Lacy.
"We actually prefer to have adult kidneys in young children because it has a lot of kidney reserve, if you will, which allows the kids to have a really long lifetime with that kidney," said Dr. Bradley Warady, Lacy's kidney specialist.
Just three days later, Dr. Penny visited his niece. She's the family's little Wonder Woman, and he's Superman.
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Learn more about Children's Mercy's Division of Pediatric Nephrology.