CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - An anonymous donor is hoping to get results for children in Charlotte with kidney disease. The mystery benefactor put up $1 million to help kidney research at the Levine Children's Hospital. This will help kids like 12-year-old Benjamin Aguallo.
"I was on vacation at the beach and I started getting sick and throwing up. I was very sensitive. They took me in and it took a little bit, but eventually they diagnosed me. I had to stay in the hospital for almost a year.”
"You're not prepared for this whether it's cancer, or some other type of disease or atypical HUS. It's here and you've got to get through it," said Benjamin’s dad, Jonathan Aguallo.
It was a whirlwind. Benjamin’s dad said a genetic mutation triggering unexpectedly in his youngest son.
"I was about 6-years-old and I was diagnosed with atypical HUS," said Benjamin.
“It's a very rare condition that has been more and more identified over the last several years," said Dr. Susan Massengill, the director of Pediatric Nephrology.
Six years ago Benjamin was the first case they'd seen at the Levine Children's Hospital. Now, he's 12-years-old and turning 13 in February.
"When I was little, when we would walk to go to get my infusion, I would actually half-way through need to be carried to get my infusion. Now, I’m speed walking there," said Benjamin.
"For Ben, had we not put him on appropriate treatment, he would clearly be in kidney failure and probably need both a kidney and heart transplant," said Dr. Massengill.
The Levine Children's Hospital announced a secret benefactor donated a million dollars to children's kidney research to help more kids like Benjamin.
"We spend billions and billions of dollars on chronic kidney disease. Much of that is at the end of the line when they're already on dialysis or in need of transplant. We need to focus our attention much earlier on, in particular in children. Many of the diseases that ultimately result in kidney failure in adults starts in the childhood population," said Dr. Massengill.
They'll also use the money to help families pay for blood pressure cuffs and other medical supplies not covered by insurance. All this to help kids get back to living life. For Benjamin that meant getting back on the soccer field.
"That was probably one of the best days of my life."