Stories about: living donor

Gavin’s kidney transplant: A big gift for the ‘little man’

Kidney transplant recipient Gavin Couto and his momThere is more to the gaze of 21-month-old Gavin Couto than meets the eye.

“We call him ‘the little man,’” says Lauren Messier. “It’s part of how he looks, but it’s also the way he acts. He just makes us laugh.”

Laughter didn’t come easy the first few months after he was born. Gavin had end-stage renal disease. His mother Samantha ‘Sam’ Grota was told he would need a kidney transplant, and he needed one sooner rather than later.

But the story behind Gavin’s transplant doesn’t begin with his birth; it begins with the birth of a friendship between Lauren and Sam, when the two — now 30-year-olds — first met in a Fairhaven, Massachusetts, middle school.

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Full circle: Transplant recipient returns as a transplant nurse

Laurie Lukianov

Laurie Lukianov has a more extensive medical history than most people would accumulate in several lifetimes. She spent most of her childhood in a hospital, and remarkably, that’s where the 26-year-old nursing student wants to spend her career.

“There is no question in my mind,” she says. “Since I was 3 years old, I wanted to be a nurse.”

Born with biliary atresia—a life-threatening liver condition in which the bile duct to the small intestine becomes blocked—Laurie underwent two liver transplants by age 13. Due to her long history of health problems, Laurie has had to overcome more obstacles than the average nursing student. But in many ways, these obstacles make her an ideal fit for the field she wishes to pursue—pediatric transplant.

‘The biggest benefit is that I know what they have gone through,” she says.

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From Abu Dhabi to Boston: Brothers’ bond runs deep through kidney donation

brothersFar from the white beaches and turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf, a mother stands in a sea of people, arms wrapped around her sons, as a wave of passengers click the handles of their carry-ons, wheeling them toward their destinations.

Saleema Al Shukri has just arrived at Logan Airport from Abu Dhabi.

It has been six long months since she has seen her sons Saeed, 16, and Ahmed, 23, and her husband Fadel, all of whom temporarily relocated to Boston to begin a journey of hope and healing, while Saleema remained at home to care for the rest of the family.

Two years earlier, at the age of 14, Saeed was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia, a condition that results from the malformation of the kidney during fetal development. While Saeed had remained relatively well his entire life, his doctors in Abu Dhabi noticed that his blood levels started to become abnormal, showing his kidneys were beginning to fail.

Saeed needed a kidney transplant.

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