She does not know the young boy and his family very well, but in their time of need, she was more than willing to help.
Tiffany Tice of Polk City will be donating one of her kidneys to 16-month-old Theodore "Teddy" Reid of Des Moines, son of Randy and Sarah Reid. The surgery is scheduled to take place May 9 in Iowa City.
Teddy was born with renal failure, meaning his kidneys are not functioning properly. The Reids knew there were issues with Teddy’s kidneys before he was born, though they did not know the full extent until he was six days old. Since birth, Teddy has been in and out of the hospital countless times due to his condition. The goal of the transplant is to allow Teddy to grow and develop like other children his age, and also give him an opportunity to live a more normal lifestyle.
Tiffany explained she and Sarah are "casual friends," both being involved in organizations for mothers who are in favor of such things as cloth diapers, breastfeeding and natural parenting. Tiffany knew about Teddy’s condition before he was born, and that if a kidney transplant were needed at some point, she would volunteer to be a donor. Last December when Tiffany saw the post Sarah made on Facebook stating they were beginning the process of looking for a kidney donor, Tiffany immediately knew she would go get tested to see if she could be a donor.
"I didn’t have to think about it; it was just automatic," Tiffany said of her decision.
With two healthy kids of her own at home, Tiffany knew that if she were in a similar position to the Reid family, someone would step up and help her as well.
"It’s great to be able to help another mother," Tiffany said.
She underwent extensive testing last January and February to determine if she was a match, to see if she was healthy enough to donate, and to see if any harm would be done to her as a result of the donation process. One week after all-day, extensive tests were conducted in Iowa City, Tiffany received news that she had passed and she could be Teddy’s donor.
The news that Tiffany was a match was "really overwhelming" for Sarah.
"I was blown away by her willingness to get tested," Sarah said. "Finding out she was a match was amazing and terrifying at the same time."
As the scheduled surgery date gets closer and closer, Sarah said she is feeling a "big mix" of emotions - excited, happy, scared, sad. She has been blogging about Teddy’s journey on the blog, "Our Teddy Bear’s Journey," to not only keep people updated on his condition, but also to help other families facing similar situations.
"It’s a big, big life change," Sarah said.
Tiffany is also feeling a bit concerned about the upcoming surgery, though more so for Teddy than herself.
"My concerns are that it will work and he’ll be able to take it," Tiffany said.
She said aside from the expected 4-6 week recovery time, life after donating her kidney will remain as it has been. No changes will need to be made to her diet or regular activities.
The recovery process will be a little different for Teddy. Doctors will need to make sure the new kidney is functioning properly and he is stable before he will allowed to return home. For at least three months afterward, he will be going to numerous doctors appointments to make sure everything is going well, and he cannot be exposed to germs during that time.
"Ideally, if everything goes perfectly, he’ll be home a week after the transplant," Sarah said.
Benefit for Teddy this weekend
According to Teddy’s National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) donation page, the average kidney transplant costs nearly $250,000. After the transplant and throughout the rest of his life, Teddy will need to have follow-up care and take daily anti-rejection medications - adding to the medical expenses his family is already facing. To help the Reid family with those expenses, several fundraisers have been organized.
A "Tunes for Teddy" benefit will be held for the youngster this Saturday, April 20, at the American Legion Hall, 3712 Second Ave., in Des Moines. The event will take place from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and will include a taco dinner, silent auction, face painting, a photo booth and other fun activities. Live entertainment will be provided by Iowa bluegrass band, C.W. Hobbs. Advanced tickets are required and can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
An auction has also been taking place on the "Prayers for Baby Theodore" Facebook page. Though donated auction items will no longer appear on the Facebook page, further donations received will be placed in baskets for individuals to bid on during the Tunes for Teddy event.
Community members may also support Teddy and his family by making a tax-deductible donation to the NFT in honor of Teddy. Such contributions may be sent to the NFT Iowa Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Be sure to write "in honor of Teddy Reid" on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at www.transplants.org. Select "Find an NFT Patient" to locate Teddy after the website has loaded.
With all of the emotions and hospital stays Teddy and his family have gone through since Teddy was born, Sarah said it is great to know they have a supportive community behind them.
"It’s really awesome to have so much support, especially right now, to be reminded the whole community supports us and cares about us," Sarah said.