March is National Kidney Month and the goal is to bring awareness to the importance of having healthy kidneys and being an organ donor. When Little Lydia was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disorder it was just the beginning of a long journey on the road to recovery.

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Lydia Check of Fisher, Indiana was diagnosed Nephronophthisis, which is the most common genetic cause of childhood kidney failure. Children affected by this condition usually require dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to survive, and Lydia actually had to have both.

Finding a compatible donor for Lydia was extremely difficult. After months of unsuccessful attempt at searching for a live donor, Lydia was finally put on the national kidney waiting list and continued her 4-hour/day, 3-day/week dialysis treatments.

That's when they got a call from The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). According to Lydia's mother Paula, "COTA’s team of professionals were supportive and encouraging every step of the way...If we had not found COTA, we would have been lost during a time of tremendous need. COTA gives our family strength and direction, and will continue to do so … for a lifetime,”.

When a kidney transplant is performed, the recipients bad kidneys aren't removed. Instead, the new kidney is surgically added alongside the other two in essence giving the patient 3 kidneys. After multiple surgeries, Lydia returned to Fall Creek Elementary and completed third grade with her new kidney. She also was able to return to her beloved dance classes at Wishes Dance Studio.

Since the successful transplant Lydia has continued to do "amazing things like riding on my very own float in the Fishers Spark Parade, running in a Super Hero 5K, going to my first Indiana Pacers game, and meeting Mickey & Minnie Mouse.”

Lydia’s continues to live her life to fullest with a huge smile and a huge heart. Her current dreams include, but are not limited to, taking a Disney Cruise, seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, meeting Taylor Swift and having tea with the Queen of England.

I've been a registered organ donor since I was 18 years old and I encourage everyone to help save lives by becoming an organ donor as well. March is designated National Kidney Month to raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of kidney disease. More than 30 million Americans have kidney disease, and many do not know it.

There are more than 100,000 people waiting for kidney transplants, with close to 600,000 people in the United States suffering with kidney failure. More than 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month; 13 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant. Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list. You can visit www.RegisterMe.org to indicate your wish to be a life-saving donor.

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