AP NEWS

Mom gives a gift of life

November 13, 2018

It’s been a rough year and change for Jace Josephson.

It started in August 2017. Jace, who was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome two days after birth, went into cardiac arrest.

He was less than 2 years old at the time.

“On the way to the ER, I had to do CPR on him,” his mother, Akasha Josephson, recalled. “I think they did CPR seven times that day.”

Soon, it became clear that her son needed a new heart. That September, he was flown to Mayo Clinic. And on Jan. 27, 2018, he got the transplant.

Three weeks later, Jace’s large intestine broke open, leading to sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to an infection.

His kidneys never recovered from the inflammation.

Which is why, next Monday, Jace, 2 ½, is scheduled for a kidney transplant — this time, from a source very close to home.

Akasha will be donating her kidney to her son.

“It’s kind of a stress relief in a way,” she said. “We know the when, how and where it’s coming from, this time.”

The likelihood of Jace’s body rejecting a kidney from his parent is lower than from a stranger, Akasha said, which is a relief, considering that he’s still on immunosuppressant drugs from the heart transplant almost a year ago.

The Josephsons, originally from Upsala, near St. Cloud, have been in Rochester for the past several months.

To help pay for their hospital bills, they’ve started a “Kidney for Jace” GoFundMe.

Its goal is to raise $20,000 to cover the kidney transplant and time Akasha needs to take off work to donate.

More than 2,000 people also follow Jace via a Facebook group that has charted his health care journey for other parents of kids with heart problems.

The Josephsons know there’s always the possibility of future complications as well. However, organ transplants tend to last 13-21 years, and Jace will be monitored closely going forward.

Akasha is hopeful that the kidney transplant will eventually let the family take a break from the hospital, though.

“It’s been a very eventful two and a half years of his life,” she said.

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