NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Matt and Katie Sutton knew midway through their pregnancy that their third child would be born with some challenges.
"At the 20-week ultrasound we went in and didn't think there were any issues, but I could kind of tell the ultrasound tech was taking a lot of time on certain areas," said Katie Sutton. "That's when we found out from our OB that his kidneys and bladder and ureters were all enlarged."
Jax Sutton was diagnosed with end stage renal disease.
But the 23-month-old's personality doesn't show one bit of the challenges he was born with, like having to use a peritoneal dialysis catheter for daily dialysis.
"His kidneys have some function, but it is limited. That keeps his body healthy," said Matt. "He also has a feeding tube because the condition really reduces his body's ability to take in food and really gives him what he needs."
Mom and dad have taken everything in stride.
"You don't have a choice. I mean, these are your kids. You do what you have to do for your children," said Katie. "We've been talking about a future transplant since birth. Until we met COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) and had discussions with Rick, we kind of thought, 'Man, do you really need to do this, like, is insurance going cover this?'"
"Our mission is to help families that need life-saving transplant for their children," said Rick Lofgren, president at COTA. "The average kidney transplant starts at about $450,000. And that's if everything goes right. In Jack's case with starting with dialysis early on, his expenses are going to be more."
Efforts to raise money have already begun as Jax and the Suttons keep pushing ahead.
"There's a lot of unknowns at this point, but ultimately we focus on the things that are in our control," said Matt. "Really just supporting him so he can get to that point and get the transplant in the best position and hopefully have a little bit more normal childhood."
Jax's transplant will likely happen this year. His parents are both testing to become potential kidney donors. To help the family with medical costs or look out for upcoming fundraisers, visit www.cotaforjax.com.