Young pa­tient gets an early present

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

Christ­mas has come early for an 11-year-old boy who spent more than two months away from home be­cause of a rare kid­ney dis­or­der.

Trans­plant pa­tient El­liott Goldfinch re­alised one of his life’s dreams and donned a pi­lot’s hat to nav­i­gate a Boe­ing 747 over Hong Kong and then New York.

While it’s not the real deal the flight sim­u­la­tor is an ex­cit­ing change for the young­ster who en­dured weeks-on-end in hospi­tal.

‘‘I really like planes. I wanted to fly to Hong Kong be­cause there are lots of old build­ings,’’ he says.

El­liott re­cently re­ceived a kid­ney trans­plant af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with nephronopthi­sis, a ge­netic kid­ney dis­or­der that af­fects chil­dren.

His mother Char­mayne says they had no idea he was ill and only took him to the doc­tor af­ter a fam­ily mem­ber sug­gested he was pale.

Mrs Goldfinch says the doc­tor called her and said El­liott’s blood­test re­sults were ‘‘im­pres­sive’’.

‘‘He told me to get El­liott from school. He was ad­mit­ted on the spot.’’

The fam­ily hails from Palmer­ston North but El­liott and his mum had to come to Auck­land where Mrs Goldfinch do­nated one of her own kid­neys to her son. How­ever, be­fore the trans­plant could be done El­liott had six weeks of dial­y­sis.

‘‘The staff at Auck­land Hospi­tal moved heaven and earth to get it done as quick as pos­si­ble.

‘‘We had it all done within six weeks be­cause they wanted El­liott to have the surgery done be­fore Christ­mas,’’ she says.

The pair lived at Ron­ald McDon­ald House for two months and have just re­turned home to spend the fes­tive sea­son with El­liott’s dad and three sis­ters.

Jo Mor­gan from Kid­ney Kids says when she went to visit the fam­ily she thought of a way to bring some early Christ­mas cheer.

‘‘I heard that El­liott wanted to be a pi­lot when he’s older so I made a phone call to Fly A Jet and the com­pany in­stantly wanted to help out.’’

Kid­ney Kids is a par­ent­driven or­gan­i­sa­tion that aims to pro­vide sup­port for chil­dren liv­ing with kid­ney disease.

She says Christ­mas can be a par­tic­u­larly tough time for young pa­tients as they can be iso­lated from fam­i­lies.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Soar­ing: Trans­plant pa­tient El­liott Goldfinch got to ‘‘fly’’ a Boe­ing 747 to New York thanks to the help of Kid­ney Kids.

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