A 13-year-old Chilliwack boy recently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease is looking for a donor.
Madden Wicker-Vriend has a “whole plethora” of health problems, most since birth, said mom Eryn Wicker-Vriend.
But despite all of his issues, they had never experienced a medical “crisis” until his kidney failure, she said.
“The kidney issues are the ones that caught us the most off guard, or the most by surprise, because it was never even on the radar before.”
He wasn’t even showing any symptoms.
It all started back at the beginning of January when Madden went for routine bloodwork. His creatinine levels were high, which was an indicator that his kidneys were not functioning properly.
“They couldn’t really figure out why a kid his age, with no other markers of kidney problem, would have this high creatinine,” Eryn said.
By the end of January he was told he had chronic kidney disease. In February, he had a biopsy done where doctors were looking for either scarring or broken down tubules. When they went to hear the results, Eryn could tell by the faces of the medical professionals in the room that it was not good news.
“He doesn’t have either of those things that we know of because the damage is so extensive and so advanced we can’t even pinpoint what caused it,” she recalled the doctor saying.
The medical team said they had never seen a case like Madden’s before.
Over the course of about two months, Madden’s diet and medications changed and his kidney function dropped to about four per cent. He was put on a transplant list and was told he might have to have dialysis down the road.
“When we saw them in April, (they said) ‘We need to refer you to the dialysis team now or we’re not going to make it to transplant before you start dialysis.’”
Madden had catheter put in on May 10 and his mom and dad, Jesse, took training for two weeks to learn how to administer dialysis at home.
He started dialysis at BC Children’s Hospital on May 18 while his parents were completing the training. Now dialysis is done at home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every single night.
Born prematurely with restricted growth, Madden was diagnosed with a lung disease, endocrine disorder, esophageal motility disease, among others. More recently, he has been diagnosed with MIRAGE syndrome, a rare and spontaneous genetic disorder discovered and named in 2016. This led to the addition of hematology and immunology clinics.
He is followed by eight different clinics at Children’s and has spent hundreds of days there as an outpatient and inpatient. He has had countless procedures and surgeries and is on multiple medications and therapies.
“But he has approached every health obstacle with a smile, and positive and laid back attitude,” Eryn said. “Madden is so compliant and so agreeable to everything single thing we ask him to do. He doesn’t fight, he never says ‘no.’
“He has a huge personality in a very small frame,” she added. “He’s funny, exuberant, and brings a smile to all those who know him.”
Now they are on the hunt for a living donor.
Eryn, whose blood type is A like Madden’s, is in the process of determining whether she can donate one of her kidneys to her son. But, the family is putting the call out for others to do the same to better their chances.
“We’re looking for a donor. (Madden) can only have an adult kidney because you have to be the age of consent to be a donor.”
People must be at least 19 years of age.
Although he just turned 13, Madden is the size of an average seven-year-old, and yes, an adult kidney can fit into his body.
The doctors will leave the failing kidneys intact and put the new one down in his pelvis in the peritoneal cavity, Eryn explained.
“Children get top of the list for deceased donors… but we’re looking for a living donor because the outcomes are better with living donors.”
It is a very complicated process to determine if someone is a match. The first step is to email email@example.com. Folks will be required to fill out several forms on their health history and have bloodwork done.
It takes about four to six months for the workup where the donor to gets their kidney prepared and into the best possible health for the patient. The person might get declined at any point along the way.
Despite everything Madden has been through, he still goes to school – he’s in Grade 7 at Vedder Middle School – and stays active.
“I like to do video games, play outside, play Lego, play sports outside of school (like) baseball and hockey,” he said.
He also likes art and reading and playing with his siblings Lexi, 12, Grayson, 10, and Hudson, 6.
And his favourite thing at school?
“Recess and lunch… and leaving,” Madden said with a smile.
Because of all of the medical appointments – both for Madden and Eryn while she does the workup for potentially becoming a donor – and travel to and from Children’s, money has been tight and will be even tighter after his transplant.
Their friend started a GoFundMe to help with expenses. They said they are grateful for all the support from family and friends.
For more on the living kidney donor program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to providencehealthcare.org/renal_program/living-kidney-donor.html.
To donate to the GoFundMe, go to gofundme.com/f/please-help-young-madden-and-his-family.