In a class full of first graders, Caden Gilbert is hard at work.
However, the kind-hearted 7-year-old has a lot more to focus on than spelling tests and books. On June 8th, Caden will have a kidney transplant. His dad is the donor.
"I would give him both of them if that's what it took," Caden's dad, Christopher Gilbert, said.
It was July 2015. The Gilbert family was coming home from Myrtle Beach only to find that Caden was extremely ill.
After countless tests, doctors told the family he had contacted E. Coli. Things only got worse and that E. Coli eventually turned into a rare disease, which caused kidney failure.
"We had a really hard time accepting it," Gilbert said. "Going from one week at the beach and talking with your buddies, 'oh he's such a big boy I cant wait to be on the sidelines Friday night watching him play football,' and then a week later we're in the hospital with him clinging to life."
Caden went through multiple surgeries and was put on dialysis to treat the syndrome, but nothing took. A transplant now seems like the best option.
"This is not a cure, this is just a treatment," Caden's mom, Candi Gilbert, said. "Typically kidney transplants only last 10-15 years from a living donor. I've heard cases where they do last a lot longer than that. We just have to wait and see how well we take care of it."
His supporters want to help during the difficult time and started a fundraiser called "Coins for Caden."
"Caden is a great kid, he's a hero, his dad is a hero," Caden's principal, Greg Ervin, said.
"It just touches your heart," Caden's teacher, Shelly Miller, said. "His story touches your heart, his family touches your heart, and we are privileged to know him and his family. They've really touched us this year."
Everything raised goes to Caden's COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) fund. It's money he'll be able to use for the rest of his life.
If you'd like to support Caden you can donate online by clicking here.
Donations can also be sent to the following address:
ATTN: Coins for Caden
Duffield Primary School
663 Duff-Patt Hwy
Duffield, VA 24244
So far around $3,000 has been raised.
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