INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly 2,000 children across the country are on the transplant waiting list. In Indiana, 15 families are waiting for that phone call that an organ is ready for their child.
When 9-year-old Alana Miller was diagnosed with stage three chronic kidney disease three years ago, her mother put out an urgent request to the members of their church, Stones Crossing.
"I had put out a prayer request to the church that if anyone would have any interest to pray about it if it's on their heart," Jennie MIller said.
Her pastor, Chris McLaughlin, felt the need to answer that call - and he was a match.
"I really see God in the midst of this," McLaughlin said. "That this is something that God had set up from the very beginning."
IU Health Transplant Surgeon Dr. William Goggins says performing transplants on children are always more difficult, because their bodies are so small.
"When you're dealing with small kids, where the blood vessels go and how they attach are the most important things," Dr. Goggins said.
But while in surgery, Dr. Goggins said they saw something surprising about McLaughlin's kidney.
"His blood vessels came out in an abnormal fashion," Dr. Goggins said. "They don't come out in the center of the kidney, they come out at the top of the kidney. If the blood vessels were in the normal position, it would have been much more difficult to get the kidney in."
That finding made McLaughlin the perfect match for Alana in more ways than they could have imagined.
"Somebody upstairs really wants her to get this kidney, because it was so perfectly set up for her," Dr. Goggins said.
Now, Alana is recovering and says she feels better than ever.
"I feel way better, I have a ton more energy," Alana said. "I'm just so grateful. Now I can do a bunch of things like other kids can do."
And while McLaughlin was there for Alana, he wants to urge others that they can also make a difference in someone's life. IN some child cases, an adult can provide a kidney and even a part of their liver.
"There's so many people out there that need a kidney right now," McLaughlin said. "You can be that person. YOu can be the person that does it."
You can learn more about becoming a living donor here: https://unos.org/transplant/living-donation/