Mom donates kidney to daughter, hoping to inspire others

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A mother and daughter are headed to the hospital for a very important surgery on Wednesday morning and as they do, they hope others will be inspired to become organ donors.

Four-year-old Bella Cruz has beaten a lot of odds since her birth. At 30 weeks, her mom Gia Cruz got a terrifying call after a routine test.

“(They said) I needed to go to the hospital immediately,” Cruz said.

It looked like Bella had no kidneys and doctors didn’t think she’d make it at all. Yet, after 52 days in the hospital, Gia gave birth to Bella on March 18, 2009.

“We just gave it to God and prayed for a miracle,” Cruz said.

Since then, it’s been a long journey. Bella was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and still has to endure feeding tubes, medication and hormone shots.

Still, she’s an energetic little girl and looking at her, you wouldn’t know how many odds she’s beaten. Wednesday, she’ll beat another, thanks to Gia’s kidney donation. If the kidney takes in Bella, it will help her avoid dialysis and even more daily struggles.

“It feels like a blessing actually, to be able to do this and to give her life for a second time,” Cruz said.

Bella’s dad, Fred, and her 6-year-old brother, Connor, will be there for support, too. Connor wears a “Team Bella” shirt, part of the family’s mission to inspire others.

“I would like for people to know how much of a fighter she is. She’s resilient in so many ways,” Fred Cruz said.

Bella will likely need more kidney donations throughout her life, the first when she’s around 20 years old. It’s better to get a kidney from a living donor, so Gia Cruz is getting out the word to healthy adults that organ donation can be a relatively safe and life-saving procedure.

“If you’re healthy, consider donation because you could save someone’s life,” Cruz said.

Bella and Gia will go to the hospital at 7 a.m. Wednesday for their surgeries.

For more on the Cruz family’s story and to donate to a fund set up for them, go to www.cotaforbellac.com.

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