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Holt woman donates kidney to coworker's 19-month-old son

The Hobbs and Lisa Pelts
Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 23:05:16-04

DEWITT, MI — Earlier this year, we brought you the story of a family in DeWitt searching for a kidney for their son. 

After months of looking and social media posts, they found a donor and 19-month-old Ryan Hobbs finally has a new kidney. 

"It's definitely the best gift that anybody can give anybody," said Mark Hobbs, Ryan's father.

It's been three weeks since Ryan received his new kidney.

Ryan and his mother Rosa
Ryan and his mother Rosa

"He is a new kid. He is healthier. He is stronger. He is less sick," his mother, Rosa De Pasquale Hobbs, said. "We can see what the future is bringing to us."

Back in March, Ryan was in stage four of kidney failure and his parents were searching high and low for a live donor.

"It's been life-changing just having all the people reach out to see if they are a match for Ryan," Mark Hobbs said. "I didn't have a timeline in mind. I didn't think it would be this fast." 

Mark's only hope was that it would be before Ryan had to go on dialysis. The donor turned out to be someone close at hand, someone he worked with.

Lisa playing with Ryan
Lisa playing with Ryan

Lisa Pelts works with Mark at Cosco in East Lansing.  When she saw the Facebook post about Ryan needing a kidney, she knew she had to try to help.

"I'm a parent. I have two children. I know that if, I was in that position, I would want someone to step forward," Pelts said. "I knew nothing before this about living kidney donorship. So I clicked on the link and I printed out the paperwork and I did some research online."

She also talked to a coworker who was a living donor. And, after sending in the paperwork she got a call from the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor to do the first round of testing.

"When I passed the first set of tests that's when it became real. Like it might actually happen," Pelts said.

She went through many other tests to make sure she was a match for Ryan, healthy and in the right mental state.

After a little over four months, she found out she was the perfect match.

Ryan and Lisa celebrating the good news
Ryan and Lisa celebrating the good news

"I was shocked. I was excited. I was kind of relieved that I could help this family out," Pelts said. "I work so closely with Mark and that I was a match. Out of all the people that did the testing that I was the match. I was the chosen one."

She says she was in a little bit of pain after surgery but she's had abdominal surgery before so she was not worried. She encourages people who are thinking about being a donor to get tested.

"The pain that you go through in recovery is well worth saving a little one's life," Pelts said. "Or a loved one it could be an older person too."

Ryan's parents say he started improving right away after the transplant.

Ryan Hobbs
Ryan Hobbs

"The doctors had said he was already peeing more. His creatinine level started going down. He didn't have issues with sodium after the surgery," Mark Hobbs said.

Rosa says he can play now and he's happy.

"He's showing interest in food. It was things that before he didn't have. He's pretending to eat with his toys. He's sharing his toys with other people," she said.

Ryan also has spina bifida, so his parents say he can now start physical and occupational therapy without them worrying.

"He can start to learn to walk now, working on that more, just learning better motor skills overall," Mark said.

A picture of Ryan being a happy little boy
A picture of Ryan being a happy little boy

They say Ryan can only go up from here thanks to Pelts.

Pelts says being able to sit and watch him plat brings tears to her eyes.

"He's the cutest little boy, he's the sweetest little boy and the fact that I can help him. It's a wonderful feeling," Pelts said.

Pelts will be out of work for a little while due to her surgery, and a Gofundme page has been set up to help her financially.

If you would like to follow Ryan's journey you can check out his Facebook page 'I'm Ryan and this is my fight'. His parents are still fundraising
and, if you would like to help them financially, you can click here to check out his gofundme.

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