Englewood teen donates kidney in swap to save mother`s life - FOX 35 News Orlando

Englewood teen donates kidney in swap to save mother`s life

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Rhonda McClarn and son Tevin Hamilton Rhonda McClarn and son Tevin Hamilton
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

An Englewood teen will donate one of his kidneys this month to help his ailing mother, but she won't be getting his kidney. It's part of a program where strangers help strangers.

This young man will go into surgery the same day as his mother and donate a kidney, which will go to an elderly woman whose granddaughter is donating one of her kidneys. That woman's kidney will then go to the Englewood mom.

These strangers all have the same need – and though unable to help their own family member, they're all able to mutually help one another.

Rhonda McClarn has suffered from kidney failure for the past 12 years and has relied on dialysis to keep her alive.

"Been doing it at home for seven years, six days a week, three hours a day," Clarn says.

"I was 6 years old at the time," Rhonda's son Tevin Hamilton recalls. "I didn't know what was going on, seen a whole bunch of tubes going in and out my mom. I was like, oh no, what's going to happen to my mom?"

Tevin Hamilton has wanted to donate a kidney for his mother ever since. Now at 18, he finally can. But, there's a problem. While his blood is a match, he doesn't have the right level of antibodies, so he can't be his mom's donor, because her body would reject it.

Luckily, thanks to a donor swap program and against high odds, Rhonda just learned she got a kidney from a stranger, who's grandmother will get one of Tevin's.

"When I first got the call, which was last Thursday, I was totally speechless," McClarn told FOX 32. "I asked her to repeat it again, and I just bust out crying and thanking my heavenly father, Jehovah, that, because I didn't think I would ever hear those words."

Now, they are preparing for surgery on November 25th, making sure they follow all the pre-surgical requirements knowing the other family may choose to remain anonymous.

She does worry a little about her son.

"Like I told him, I will still love him if he, even if he gets on the operating table and said I can't do it, that is fine with me," she says.

"I'm ready to go. Like I said, it's been something I've wanted to do since I was 6 years old, ready to go," Tevin responds. "My teachers talk to me about it, nothing can stop me at this point, I'm ready to get it done."

Tevin should come home the day before thanksgiving and Rhonda the day after. There's a lot to be thankful for this year, especially no more dialysis.

If all goes as planned, Rhonda will spend five days in the hospital and Tevin will be there three. The recovery period is six to eight weeks for Rhonda and four to six weeks for her son.

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