A bond rooted in kidney transplant: Catching up with Ayden and Aubrey

We celebrate National Kidney Month with a look back at a special friendship sparked by kidney transplant.

Close-up of Ayden as a toddler. Ayden was born with polycystic kidney disease and received a kidney transplant.

Ayden was born with polycystic kidney disease.

Close-up of Aubrey as a toddler. She was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome at 4 months old.

Aubrey was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome at 4 months old, and by age 18 months, she had both kidneys removed and was on dialysis.

Aubrey received her kidney transplant in July of 2015, and two months later, Ayden received his transplant. When Ayden met Aubrey at Boston Children’s Hospital that fall, an instant friendship was formed. This bond was further strengthened during their clinic visits and labs, the two on a seemingly similar schedule for post-transplant care.

Kidney Transplant recipients Aubrey, who is cheering, and Ayden, who is grinning

Now that Ayden and Aubrey’s medication routines have stabilized and their transplanted organs show no signs of rejection, they spend most of their time at home, Ayden in New York and Aubrey in Tennessee. “We keep in touch through Facebook and the occasional FaceTime,” says Aubrey’s mom, Janna. “Aubrey talks about him a lot and likes to look at their pictures!”

Close-up of kidney transplant recipient Aubrey with pigtails and glasses.

Aubrey, now almost 5, has blossomed into a free-spirited social butterfly. She loves going to Pre-K, watching Tom Brady play football and playing outside.

Kidney transplant recipient Ayden in a firemans hat, saluting a fireman.

Ayden is now in Kindergarten and according to his mom, Cindy, “has a passion for the fire service.” When the 5-year-old isn’t at school, he loves hanging out at his local fire station, where he was made an honorary member of the department.

These days, their visits to the hospital are few and far between and haven’t lined up. Though their separation is somewhat bittersweet, their friendship is founded on a uniquely familiar journey. Ayden and Aubrey’s lives are following similar paths — not unlike those of most little boys and girls — with milestones made all the more remarkable by having shared the same experience.

Learn more about the Kidney Transplant Program.