Mom to donate kidney to 9-year-old son

Updated: July 10, 2019 06:58 PM

A Minnesota mom will be giving the gift of life to her child -- twice.

On Thursday, University of Minnesota doctors will remove her kidney and transplant it into her 9-year-old son.


Nine-year-old Connor is just like many boys his age. He loves time at the park with his brother and baseball.

But, he'll be taking a break from both for awhile.

Born with Prune Belly Syndrome, Connor has endured multiple procedures and surgeries to help internal organs.

One of those is his kidney. He just has one and it's now failing.

Extensive testing discovered his mom is a match.

On Thursday morning, mother and son will undergo transplant surgery.

"It just blows my mind that she carried me and now I'm going to carry something from her," he said. "It's just pretty crazy."

Every day, nearly two dozen people die waiting for a transplant.  In Minnesota, there are more people on the waiting list for a kidney donation than any other organ.

For him, the surgery brings excitement for what the new kidney will help him do.

"I need to get taller, because that's what should be happening, but it's not happening very well with me," he explains.

For mom and dad, there are a few more nerves.

"You can't help but be a little worried when there's not just one major surgery, but there are two parties of our family involved," his mom, Melissa Gottschalk, said.

But they're taking cues from their fighter about resiliency and joy.

"He's a pretty special guy who seems to overcome time and time again every single moment of adversity that he has, and as a parent, you are just constantly blown away by that resiliency and just good spirit that he has," his dad, Craig Gottschalk, said.

Melissa says because this is a pediatric patient and an adult, they will be in two different locations, one on the east side of the river, the other on the west side.

She says a medical courier will bring her kidney to Connor in the operating room.  It's expected to take about 20 minutes.

Both are expected to be out of surgery by early afternoon. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Connor. 

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Jessica Miles

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