When Logan Wiesman was 2, he started complaining of back pain. So his family took him to the doctor to see what was wrong.
Ann Wiesman, Logan's mom: “We ended up having to go over an ultrasound and found out that he had thousands of cysts on his kidneys. He has something called polycystic kidney disease.”
Dave Wiesman, Logan's dad: “So, they looked like bags of marbles, um, and that’s when our lives changed. You know, this is a life-threatening disease.”
Logan needed medicine to control his blood pressure. His kidneys functioned for a while but grew to the size of a football. He needed surgery, and he would eventually need a kidney transplant.
Logan Wiesman, 8, Kidney transplant patient: “I named my bad kidney, my biggest kidney, Voldemort.”
Like the Harry Potter character, Voldemort was a villain. He was robbing Logan of the daily activities of being a kid. By the end of 2016, both of Logan’s kidneys were on the brink of failure. Voldemort had to go.
David Hooper, MD, Medical director, kidney transplantation: “Fortunately, God gave most people twice as many kidneys as they need, and, ah, so we can do living donor kidney transplants.”
More than 30 people offered to donate a kidney. When tests ruled out Logan’s dad, they decided to reach out to the youngest to volunteer. That was family friend Karly Schmidt. She was 23 and just finishing her nursing degree. Coincidentally, her dad had donated a kidney to a friend when he was about her age. Karly was all in.
Last June, she donated her kidney to Logan at Cincinnati Children’s. And soon after that, she got hired on here as a nurse.
Karly Schmidt, RN, Logan’s kidney donor: “Everyone thinks that it’s such like a huge thing, and I get it for Logan, like it definitely is. I’m so glad that it’s helped him and changed his life. But for me, it was just like, it was a couple months. And then, I didn’t need my other kidney, so why not give it to him?”
For Logan and his family, it was a big deal.
Ann: “We are incredibly grateful for her to do that, and you know you look, you look back at yourself at like 23 years old and you’re like, ‘Would I have done something like that?’ I don’t... It’s a special person that looks outside and is willing to take on such a thing.”
Today, Logan is back to running, playing, swimming and thinking about his future.
Logan: “When I grow up, um, I want to be a scientist to help other people who have PKD, make medicine that will hopefully cure or help it a lot.”
New discoveries are his parents’ big hope, too.
Ann: “I know we have pacemakers, we have other assisted organs that we have been able to find ways to put in the body. So my hope would be he has an alternative so that when that time comes, that research has been funded and um vetted to a point where he’s not a guinea pig, right, they’ve gotten some of those kinks worked out, and it’s a no-brainer surgery, like an appendicitis, right, where you just do it.”
For now, they’re focusing on the joys of having a child who is healthy again.
Ann: “He’s kind of just a typical, typical 8-year-old boy. And that to me is like an awesome thing to get to say.”