11-year-old Taylor boy waiting for kidney transplant wants to be a 'real boy'

Doctors say more organ donors are needed

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - As of March 1, there were 2,395 people in Michigan waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant. 

One of them is an 11 year-old boy named Jai'Wan Davis-Harbour, of Taylor.

Jai'Wan spends three and a half hours at a time, four days a week, undergoing dialysis at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.  He would rather be at school or, better yet, playing baseball.

Jai'Wan's mother Cherisse Davis-Harbour said the treatment takes a toll on the fifth grader.

"They get tired of being in that chair. It's a long time to sit in that chair," said Cherisse.  "He misses a lot of school. He likes to have friends.  He wants to play baseball, and he can't join the baseball team."

"Sometimes it seems very hard to be able to do some of the things that I can't do," said Jai'Wan.

It's been a lifelong battle for Jai'Wan, whose kidneys never developed properly in the womb.

"From the minute he was born, he did not have healthy kidneys.  It wasn't long after he had to start dialysis," said Dr. Kera Luckritz, a pediatric nephrologist at C.S. Mott.

Jai'Wan had a kidney transplant when he was four years old, but four and a half years later, his body rejected the transplant.

"It was a big disappointment when we lost the kidney. It kind of felt like failure," said Cherisse.

Now Jai'Wan is waiting for his second "second chance."

"Then I would be able to do anything," said Jai'Wan.

Experts said the prior transplant makes finding a match this time even more difficult.

"He's sensitized to other donors, which makes it harder to find a transplant that he won't reject very quickly," said Luckritz.  "We always want to get transplants for these kids if we can because it significantly improves their quality of life and their outcomes."

Cherisse said she prays a new kidney will come soon.

"I know he's tired.  And we want to have our normal life," said Cherisse.  "It's dialysis.  You can't just live on there forever."

She said Jai'wan worries too.

"He said, 'You know Mom, I'm not afraid to die, but I'm afraid to leave you.  I don't want to leave you.'"

Cherisse hoped sharing Jai'Wan's story will encourage more people to become organ donors, and said Jai'Wan already has a special nickname picked out for when he gets a new kidney.

"He's going to name it 'Pinocchio,' he said, because he's still waiting to be a real boy.  He's not a real boy yet because he can't do everything that the other real boys do," said Cherisse.  "He's waiting to live.  That's the best way to sum it up.  Pinocchio, come on."

To join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, click here.

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