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10-year-old receives life-saving transplant – KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather

Posted: Aug 05, 2014 5:33 PM

Updated: Aug 06, 2014 6:43 AM

By Courtney Sturgeon, Reporter – email

MINNEAPOLIS (KTTC) — A 10-year-old Wisconsin boy is getting a life-saving transplant months after his family in Rochester built a giant snowman seeking a kidney for him.

Cathy Santiago, Levi Cooper’s cousin, and her two sons built a nine-foot-tall snowman in their front yard in February. Levi’s story was attached to the snowman along with a plea for a kidney donor.

Since then, Levi and his family, have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis while he’s been on dialysis awaiting a kidney. The Cooper family is from Spooner, Wisconsin.

Levi’s donor is a teacher at Levi’s elementary school. She heard about Levi’s need from a flier posted at the school. Although she didn’t hear about it from the snowman, Levi’s mom, Rana, said the frosty-inspired creation may inspire others to donate. “This has got to get the word out there,” said Rana Cooper. “We just wanted to get done with dialysis and to see that big snowman and know she did that just for Levi, I love her for doing that.”

Levi has had 54 surgeries since he was diagnosed with Prune Belly Syndrome while he was still in the womb. Prune Belly Syndrome affects about 1 in every 40,000 births.

“He is just a trooper through it all,” said Rana Cooper. “He pops out of surgeries like nothing ever happened.”

Levi said the worst part about surgery is getting stuck with a needle. “I just hold my mom’s hand and I be brave,” said Levi.

“It’s like a miracle knowing that come tomorrow, we’re going to be able to start a new journey and he’s going to feel better and no more dialysis,” said Rana Cooper.

Levi Cooper will be receiving his transplant on Wednesday, August 6 at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.

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