Elijah Wilson is doing everything in his power to save his son, Leaven, who is 12 years old and currently awaiting a kidney transplant at Denver Children’s Hospital.
Last year on June 21, everything changed for the Wilson family. At the time, Leaven was visiting his mother in Colorado, and had been complaining of back pain for a couple of weeks.
“Maybe it’s diet from changing from one household to the other,” Elijah says. “He’s a kid – you’re thinking he pulled something, or it’s gas.”
Leaven’s parents decided that if he’s still having pain by the time he returns to Tennessee, where Elijah lives, they’ll take him to Urgent Care.
“That never happened… He dropped in Target. Throwing up, in pain, screaming,” Elijah recalls the horrible memory. “We didn’t know, but that’s when his kidneys went into full renal failure.”
At the time, Elijah was picking up his older son, Atticus, from the airport after flying home from camp, and he received the terrifying call that his youngest son was being rushed to the emergency room due to severe back pain.
“You’re used to two boys getting into things that hurt themselves, but when you hear that panic in the other parent’s voice, you know somethings wrong,” Elijah recalls. “I flew to Denver as fast as I could.”
Leaven has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Failure.
Currently, Leaven is on the Inactive Transplant List, which means he can only receive a kidney from a living donor. Yet, Leaven needs to get all of the necessary shots up until age 17 in order to be on the Active Transplant List, where he can receive a kidney from a cadaver donor.
Leaven can’t have these necessary shots after the transplant because he’s on immunosuppressants. Immunosuppressants are medicines or drugs that lower the body’s ability to reject a transplanted organ, states the National Kidney Foundation.
From learning about his son’s condition to figuring out how to pay all the medical bills, this is a very overwhelming and scary time for Elijah and his family.
Elijah describes Leaven as his “clone” because they almost look identical and share the same mannerisms and attitudes. Because of Leaven’s condition, he has moved to an online school, which is the opposite of who he is.
He’s the kid that would rather be with his friends instead of online classes, Elijah says. Once Leaven moved online, his father could immediately tell the difference, and he knows that his son misses his home.
Recently, Leaven took his Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando with his favorite people; his dad, mom, and older brother.
“The Make-a-Wish lady said, ‘What are you looking forward to the most while you’re in Disney?’” Elijah recalls. “Leaven said, ‘Be with my dad for a week.”
Even with all of the financial and emotional stress Elijah is faced with, he continues to share his son’s story and get it in front of as many eyes as possible in hope that he can find a kidney donor. He has also been using TikTok to spread awareness and to gain financial support.
“TikTok has helped with meeting my son’s medical goal,” Elijah says in an email. “Due to him being so young, he will need multiple transplants throughout his life. They said, on average, they last around 15 years. Then he will have another, and it will start over.”
Elijah has also partnered with AngeLink to help fundraise for his son and help pay for the piling medical and home bills.
“I miss my son dearly,” Elijah says. “I’m working with AngeLink to help fundraise for missed work and be able to stay in Colorado for a minimum of one month when he has his transplant.”
To support Elijah, Leaven, and the rest of their family, you can donate here.
“Even if I don’t meet my goal for covering bills, I’d rather my son have a kidney. I’ll sell everything I own and start over….” Elijah says. “But I’ll have a healthy son when we find a match.”