REENFIELD — Hudson Schrank has never eaten dinner with his family.
He’s never had a bath, never paddled through his neighborhood’s swimming pool.
The 22-month-old has been on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease since he was 10 days old. He was born by Caesarean section after his mother, Jessica Schrank, suffered a rare pregnancy complication called a placental abruption, a condition affecting one in 100 mothers that causes the placenta to detach from the womb.
Deprived of nutrients and oxygen, her infant son’s kidneys shutdown and never regained function. His family spent 46 days at Riley Hospital for Children waiting for him to be able to come home.
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Waiting has become a big part of life for Hudson, his parents and his three sisters: now, they’re hoping the biggest wait is almost over.
The Schranks’ youngest child is preparing to undergo a life-saving transplant; the donor, the boy’s own father.
He has to endure so much they hope will come to an end, his mother said: 10 hours a night of dialysis, a feeding tube inserted in his stomach, nine daily medications, and monthly trips to Riley to check on his condition. The ports to tubes that cycle his blood through the dialysis machine mean Hudson can’t be submerged, meaning no baths or pools, his parents said.
Both Hudson’s parents are blood and tissue matches. Bryan Schrank has undergone an additional barrage of tests — blood tests, cholesterol and heart rate monitoring — to make sure he’s healthy enough for the surgery, and his kidney will be a good fit for his youngest child.
Jessica Schrank is trying not to get her hopes up, but it’s hard. The Schranks have surrounded themselves with layers of support — friends, family, other parents of children with kidney issues. She has heard the stories of how fast children start feeling better, how quickly they grow and meet their developmental milestones after their little bodies are finally working just right.
Hudson already is a resilient little guy — he’s walking and almost running, despite many kidney patients not having the abdominal strength to do so, and his toothy grins are a common sight around the Schranks’ Greenfield home, his mother said.
His cheerful spirit in the face of all the blood draws, the tubes and the inconveniences already feels like a blessing, she said.
The family is mindful of those blessings and the help offered locally and from people across the world, she said.
When they were in the hospital for the first time, the family heard about Children’s Organ Transplant Association, a Bloomington-based nonprofit that helps raise money for families with a child needing an organ transplant.
The nonprofit helps families with fundraising, gives them guidance and support along the way, said Kim Carter-Parker, the organization’s director of communications.
“Our goal is to make sure … moms and dads can spend their time and energy focused on the child,” she said.
It’s a focus the Hancock County community has shared, holding fundraisers and benefit events. Through COTA, the Schranks have raised nearly $30,000 toward their goal of $50,000 to support the family during the surgery and recovery time for Hudson and his dad.
If the transplant from dad to son gets the final OK from doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the coming weeks, their family will face a four- to six-week stay in Ohio. They will use the money raised through the website and several fundraisers to help bridge the gap away from home and work, Jessica Schrank said.
“Even if we don’t hit $50,000, that will help us to get through that transplant time,” she said. “It will help us with gas, groceries and medications while we’re in Cincinnati. We are blessed for how much we’ve raised so far.”
And if they don’t use all the money during that time, it’s still available for use on things like insurance deductibles, Jessica Schrank said.
While much of Hudson’s nearly two years have been a waiting game — waiting to see what was wrong, waiting to see how to fix it — there’s one thing his mother anticipates more than most other advantages of having a healthy child.
Because Hudson’s daily 10 hours of dialysis make him nauseated, he has always been on a feeding tube.
Jessica Schrank just can’t wait until her son can join the rest of her family at the dinner table.
Hudson Schrank, 22 months, of Greenfield, has end-stage renal disease and needs a kidney transplant for a healthy life. His father, Bryan Schrank, is a match and is undergoing further tests with hopes of completing the transplant by Hudson’s second birthday in March.
Children’s Organ Transplant Association is coordinating a fundraiser with a goal of $50,000 to put toward the costs associated with Hudson’s transplant.
To learn more or donate, visit cotaforteamhudsons.com.