By Dustin Hodges, KY3 News
5:56 a.m. CDT, May 23, 2013
BRANSON, Mo. – A local preschool graduate has a lot more to celebrate than just the end of the school year. Tim and Gillian Hendrix weren’t sure if they would see their son Cooper graduate preschool.
Cooper was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease before he was even born. He had a kidney transplant at the age of four that his mother Gillian donated to him.
Cooper was born at the Children’s hospital in St. Louis. Tim and Gillian spent countless hours in the hospital with Cooper who already needed a new kidney by age four.
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Thanks to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, or COTA, Cooper’s medical expenses have been taken care of, and a year and a half later he’s getting ready for kindergarten and his parents Tim and Gillian couldn’t be more proud of him.
“It just amazes me how fast he’s grown, the years have really flown by and it’s fun to watch him change and learn new things and develop his personality,” Gillian Hendrix said. “He had a personality real early on in life and it’s been fun — it’s sad as a mom to see him grow up so fast but I’m so proud of him, he’s done so well and he’s taken everything that’s gone on in his life with a smile on his face and a good attitude.”
“He gets out and plays with the best of them and he goes up and down the slides and he loves the other kids, he likes being at school,” Janet Bolger, Cooper’s preschool teacher, said. “He loves to play, he loves to run, he does all the things the other kids do — so yeah, he seems pretty normal especially physically.”
Cooper has monthly blood work done locally and goes back to St. Louis every three months for check-ups. That will last for the rest of his life and he will also eventually need another kidney transplant, a donated kidney usually lasts between 15 and 20 years.
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