INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A 7-year-old and his mother are waiting for a match to receive a life-altering new kidney. Peyton Hammons was born with chronic kidney failure and doctors recently told his family the kidneys won't work for much longer.
Peyton's mother, Jody Hammons, said doctors knew when he was born that his kidneys weren't normal.
“He was born early," the mother said.
Peyton's condition caused him to grow slower than other children, giving him a failure to thrive. His mother said her son is the size of an average child two or three years younger than him.
“It’s sad that he has to go through all that," Jody Hammons said. "It’s both kidneys, not just the one."
Thursday was Peyton's first day of summer break, and instead of getting into a summer activity, the child and his mother spent a few hours at Riley Hospital for Children getting an iron infusion. It was his second one in treatment.
The family learned in the last month that tests on his kidneys were showing they are getting worse.
“Ten thousand kids in the United States have end stage kidney disease," said Dr. David Hains, a nephrologist with Riley Children's Health. "Meaning, they need a transplant or dialysis of some sort."
Peyton now has monthly visits with his kidney doctor. He will soon begin receiving injections as part of his treatment too.
A transplant would put an end to the visits, at least for several years. Hains said the recipient of a kidney transplant can make use of the organ for an average of 15 years.
Finding a match isn't easy.
“I’ve put it out there on Facebook," said Jody Hammons. "We have a couple people who have tried. There’s so many things you have to match up to."
Hains said ideally, the donor is a living family member or close friend, who meets a list of criteria to give the organ away.
“We don’t want them to be on dialysis for an extended period of time," said Hains. "Those kids can wait up to a year to find a good kidney and a good match."
Adults can be on a wait list for as long as five years. That's how long Jody's father had to wait for a kidney. She said he ended up living with the donated organ for 15 years, before passing away due to cancer.
To help find more potential donors, the family has created #PeytonStrong. On Tuesday, staff with the Boone County Sheriff Office escorted the boy to school.
Sheriff Mike Nielsen swore Peyton in as a deputy. Peyton arrived at school in a V-150 armored car.
"He is a great kid," said Nielsen. "I pray a donor can be found soon."