Church Members, Nonprofit Raise Money for Boy with Rare Kidney Disease

Church members and a nonprofit in Benton, Arkansas, have come together to help a little boy with a rare kidney disease.

When 4-year-old Zane Westbrook was just 19-months-old, he was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), according to KARK.

People with the disease develop scar tissue in the part of their kidneys that filter waste out of the blood, the Mayo Clinic’s website said.

“FSGS is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure, for which the only treatment options are dialysis or kidney transplant,” the site read.

In October, Zane was forced to have both kidneys removed and began dialysis. He also had a hemodialysis line put in his neck and a peritoneal dialysis line put in his stomach.

His family called the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to ask for help in raising funds for a transplant, and the nonprofit said it would aim to raise $55,000 to go toward Zane’s medical expenses.

February 16, the Westbrook’s church family at Holland Chapel Baptist Church along with COTA volunteers organized a fundraising breakfast for the little boy.

“It was mindblowing we were able to raise $8,200 in a three-hour span,” said church member Chris Owen.

“There was a gentleman who drove from Sherwood because he saw it on the news – wrote us a check for $2,000 and left it at the door,” he recalled.

Tuesday, Zane will receive his new kidney from his father, Kirk, according to an update from his mom on the COTA website.

“I have been overwhelmed with emotion over a lot of things in my life, but nothing can explain the emotion I feel when I think about two of my favorite people and the fact that [sic] are going to be having surgery at the same time,” his mother wrote.

“I’m anxious. I’m excited. I’m thankful. I’m blessed,” she concluded.

In the end, it all came down to people helping each other, according to Owen.

“We’re seeing this incredible community here – fairly small town, a small community rally around him and the whole family,” he concluded.

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