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Lake Wales
Monday, July 22, 2024

10-Year-Old Frostproof Girl Needs Kidney Transplant due to Rare Disease


by James Coulter

Jessica Wilson will be turning 10 on Sep. 13. This young Frostproof girl loves science and math, though she often struggles with reading comprehension. She loves the outdoors, and she especially loves exploring it on an ATV. She also loves to dance, having been a member of Studio 6 in Lake Wales up until last year.

Sadly, young Jessica has been struggling with a rare kidney disease that requires her to have her kidneys removed and receive a transplant. While her case is treatable (but not curable), it does require her to visit the hospital often and consume a low-sodium diet. Not to mention that her grandmother, Michelle, who has been raising her since 2015, needs to take off work to look after her.

For that reason, her family is seeking assistance from anyone willing to offer it. Her grandmother currently has a fundraiser for Jessica, as well as a CashApp account. Jessica is also a lucky Make-A-Wish kid who will be enjoying a trip to Walt Disney World in the near future.

Michelle has been raising Jessica and her sister Melissa since 2015. Shortly after, Jessica was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerular Sclerosis (FSGS), a rare disease that causes the kidneys to attack themselves.

Jessica was diagnosed a year and a half since 2015. She had gone into remission a year and a half later and was placed on a low-sodium diet until last year. Since then, she experienced quite a few relapses and was hospitalized several times. In December, she contracted pneumonia with fluid in her left lung. She was hospitalized at Arnold Palmer in Orlando for ten days.

“Seven of those ten days were spent in the CICU unit,” Michelle said. “[For] three days, she was unresponsive due to the morphine that they gave her for pain before her procedure. One of those unresponsive days was Christmas Day, so we had a rough December.”

Jessica eventually returned home, but shortly after, her kidneys started failing even more. On Jan. 19, she was placed on dialysis. She started receiving treatment twice a week, and now she is treated three times a week.

On Aug. 21, she was sent to Tampa General Hospital where her case was presented before a medical board. They will deliberate and decide whether she will be eligible for a kidney transplant, though her chances, being a young child, are highly likely, her grandmother said. Within the next month, she is expected to have her kidneys removed to prepare for the transplant.

“If she is approved on the list, it would put her back on the list since Jan 19,” her grandmother said. “They try to have it so that kids are not on dialysis for more than 13 months. So, I feel we will be looking very soon for a transplant coming soon.

Michelle has had her plate and a half full during this ordeal. She was able to cut her work schedule down to four days a week, but she would be fortunate if she managed to get in 48

hours. When Jessica receives her transplant, it will require Michelle to be out of work for two to three months. As such, her family is seeking assistance from anyone willing to offer it. Also, anyone under 40 and healthy is welcome to be tested for a donor, as the family is currently required to go with a deceased donor.

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Staff Reporter

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