127 sign up to donate kidney for 5-year-old Austin boy

Last updated Nov. 4, 4:12 PM

AUSTIN, Texas-- A five-year-old Austin boy desperately needs help. His kidneys have failed and time is running out. Leland has been waiting for a deceased donor kidney for more than two and a half years. The hope now is that a living donor will come forward and help save Leland’s life.

After Leland's story aired on FOX 7 Tuesday night, 127 people signed up by Wednesday afternoon to see if they're a match to donate a kidney. 

If you'd like to help Leland, click here. Because confidentiality means Leland's last name cannot be revealed, officials ask that you type in Leland for both the first and last name. They are working to fix the issue in the system.

Note: Because Leland is a foster child, details of his life including his last name remain confidential.

Leland enjoys a lot of things that many five-year-old boys do, including dinosaurs and Star Wars. He’s learning his alphabet and actually thinks homework is cool.

When you see Leland smiling and playing with his toys, it’s hard to imagine what he’s been going through. But, he has spent most of his young life on dialysis because his kidneys have failed.

Dialysis, a mechanical process that filters blood toxins when the kidneys fail, has kept Leland alive this long. Dr. Francisco Cigarroa with the University Transplant Center says most children are not on dialysis as long as Leland has been.

The problem is that Leland has had a number of vascular grafts, that allow his blood to circulate through dialysis, and these grafts eventually fail.

Leland recently underwent what doctors described as a “last-ditch attempt” graft on his leg. Doctors say the graft will fail. But, the time frame for when that'll happen isn't certain. It could be in days, weeks or even months.

His situation makes a kidney transplant imperative. And Dr. Cigarroa says it’s important that the kidney comes from a living donor.

"A kidney from a living donor is healthier and it lasts longer, giving the recipient a better chance of success,” he says.

So doctors and Leland’s foster mom are pleading with the public and hoping for altruistic donors to come forward and save Leland’s life.

"After transplant, he doesn't have to go to dialysis three days a week, he doesn't have to not be able to shower and watch his diet really carefully," says Lauren, Leland's foster mom. "He gets to be a kid. And, so anyone who can help him do that would be a huge blessing."

Once a donor is found Leland’s surgery will take place at University Transplant Center in San Antonio. After the kidney transplant, Leland will finally be able to enjoy some of the things most children take for granted. In fact, he’s most excited about being able to go to a water park.

Leland is actually one of nine foster children on the transplant list, officials say.

Donating a kidney to someone can be life saving. But, it is a serious decision that should be made with an understanding of the possible risks and complications. 

To learn more about organ donation, click here.

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