After months of cramps and vomiting, Ian Dennis walked into Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters on May 9, 2017, to receive the results of his blood work.
Within hours, doctors admitted the 13-year-old boy with a diagnosis of Stage 5 kidney failure. He soon started four-hour dialysis treatments three times a week.
“His kidneys were very small and as his body grew it outgrew the function of the kidney. So, he was slowly getting sicker his whole life,” said Chris Dennis, a veteran of the Chesapeake Fire Department.
Chris and his wife, Kate, got tested to donate their kidney, but were not suitable matches. They took to Facebook to share their story: “He’s been such a trooper throughout this journey. Now, we need to move forward with finding possible donors.”
The post generated an overwhelming response with more than 40 people getting blood work to become potential donors. No one was a match.
Josie Hall, a Suffolk police officer, called to get blood work after seeing the initial shared by a police dispatcher. She says the transplant center told her about overwhelming response.
In August, she received a call to see if she was still interested. She went in for testing the next day.
“We swore. We took an oath. We’re here to help people regardless of how we helped you,” said Hall.
On December 26, she got the news that she was a perfect match.
“I thought about my three kids. If it was my kid, I would be begging and pleading for someone to do the process,” said Hall. “Unless the doctor told me no, 100 percent I was doing it. There wasn’t going to be anything stopping me.”
Hall’s kidney was removed March 27 and quickly transferred to an operating room where Ian was waiting.
“I can’t thank her enough,” said the teenager. “I feel better, more energetic, not as tired as I was.”
Hall says the two will always share a strong bond.
“I feel like their family is a part of us,” said Hall. “Our families are intertwined no matter what.”
April is Donate Life Month. For more information and to sign up, click here.