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Senior Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary of Kidney Transplant

Cruz Mead's February 10, 2009 transplant surgery saved his life and brought his family closer.

Mead+lays+in+his+hospital+bed+with+his+mom+at+the+age+of+9+after+his+transplant.+
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Senior Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary of Kidney Transplant

Mead lays in his hospital bed with his mom at the age of 9 after his transplant.

Mead lays in his hospital bed with his mom at the age of 9 after his transplant.

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Mead lays in his hospital bed with his mom at the age of 9 after his transplant.

Photo Submitted

Photo Submitted

Mead lays in his hospital bed with his mom at the age of 9 after his transplant.

By Natalie O'Dell, Dallastown Area High School

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At age 8, Dallastown senior Cruz Mead realized he couldn’t do the things he loved normally.

“I use to play soccer and wrestled. I would be out of breath very easily after doing the once simple tasks,” Mead said.

With trips to the doctors and seeing specialists, the Mead family found out life-changing news: Cruz had kidney failure.

After the discovery, Cruz was put on peritoneal dialysis for four months, from October to February.

“Because of the peritoneal dialysis, I would be hooked up to a machine for 8 hours at night, having the machine filter my kidneys for me,” Mead said.

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After undergoing major surgery, Mead played with toys at Hershey Medical Center while recovering.

Mead and his family discovered both his mother and father were a match.

On February 10, 2009, Mead underwent surgery for his new kidney, which was donated to him by his mother, Tina Lackey.

“We used my mom’s kidney because they thought it would be smaller than my dads,” Mead said.

After the surgery, Mead was in the hospital for 17 days and was homeschooled for three months during third grade.

Though most may think this experience was all negative, Mead disagrees.

“I got to experience a lot of cool things, like going on a Disney Cruise as my wish from the Make a Wish Foundation, ” Mead said.

Of course after having a kidney transplant, life isn’t the same.

“I’m a very outdoors person, so now I can’t swim in rivers, lakes, and ponds because of the bacteria,” Mead said.

Mead changed some of his hobbies, and now hunts, fishes, and spends time making and editing videos.

As one could imagine, having both parents be kidney donor matches and ultimately receiving a kidney from your mother grows a families bond even stronger.

Photo Submitted
Cruz and his dad eat for one of the first times after his transplant.

“I’m thankful that I was a match for Cruz,” Mead’s mom Tina Lackey said. “When we were faced with Cruz’s kidney disease, it made us stop and realize how fragile life actually is.”

Mead’s ten year anniversary signifies many things in the teen’s life, and brings back both good and bad memories. But, even with the shocking discovery of kidney failure, Mead never let the what could have been tragic event put a damper in his mood.

“Even though the transplant was a major turn of events for my life, in the end my family and I are stronger than before.” Mead said. 

This story was originally published on The Beacon on February 19, 2019.

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