A North Carolina toddler is in need of a new kidney.
Hazel Kate Niemitalo was born on April 4, 2015. Several days later, she began having seizure activity and has been in and out of the hospital ever since.
Doctors diagnosed Hazel with Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome of the Finnish Type, meaning her kidneys don’t properly filter proteins due to a mutation in one aspect of her kidneys.
A kidney transplant is the only option for the 16-month-old to have somewhat of a normal life. In order to have the best transplant outcome, she needs a kidney from an adult donor.
FOX 5 learned about Hazel’s search for a new kidney through Georgia-based photographer Brandy Angel, whose nonprofit helps people in need by sharing their stories on social media.
According to the “Kidney for Hazel” Facebook page, she needs to have both of her kidneys removed prior to her transplant. Her parents are hoping a living donor will step forward so their daughter won’t have to be on dialysis as she waits.
Hazel’s mother, Maria, has been tested, but she’s not a match. Her father, Kenny, was a finalist on American Ninja Warrior and used the show to help share his daughter’s story; however, a donor has not stepped forward.
Angel told FOX 5 Maria has signed up for the paired program, which helps find a donor. A paired kidney exchange occurs when a living donor is incompatible with the recipient. That person exchanges kidneys with another donor/recipient pair. Learn more about a kidney swap here.
If you would like to help save Hazel’s life, please call Wake Forest Baptist medical center at 336-716-0548. Her blood type is O+.