Sacred Heart Academy 6th grader gets kidney donation from woman who works at his school

CHICAGO (WLS) – A woman’s lifesaving donation to a sixth-grade boy makes us Chicago Proud. Gavin Sexton needed a new kidney, and a woman who worked at his school answered the call.

Gavin Sexton has been through a lot in his eleven years. At the age of 3 he was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor, a form of kidney cancer that mainly occurs in children.

He had one kidney removed, but as the tumor kept coming back over the years, radiation treatments damaged his other kidney.

“It was pretty tough. I didn’t feel well,” he said. “I usually go home and sit down.”

Ward Sexton said he and his wife Robyn had set their sights on getting a new kidney for their son and were trying to find a donor.

“Robyn is not a blood game, I got disfellowshipped, so we said we would ask friends,” he said.

Last year, they wrote a letter asking those who might be interested to take a blood test to see if they were a match for Gavin. The email was forwarded and ended up in the inbox of Ann Chiumino, who works in administration at Sacred Heart Academy, where Gavin is a student. The two didn’t know each other, but Chiumino said she felt the need to answer the call.

“I just thought if this was one of my daughters, I would like someone to come up and see if they match,” Chiumino said.

At the outset of the pandemic, Chiumino was confirmed to be a good match for Gavin, and COVID delayed the process to initiate proceedings. But she remained committed, and for that Gavin’s parents are grateful.

‘I go through life thinking that most people are good. Unfortunately there are some exceptions, but most people are fine, ”said Sexton. ‘But there is something good and there is an organ donating. Donating an organ is pretty high on the level of the person you are, and it’s just great. ‘

Gavin’s condition reached the point where he needed dialysis every night and connected to a machine in his room. But finally, last February, the operation took place and he got Ann Chiumino’s kidney. And he immediately felt better.

“I was still in the hospital when Robyn told me,” Chiumino said. And she said, ‘He won’t need dialysis from now on,’ and it made me so happy. ‘

Now that day in February will be remembered as the day a stranger became a lifesaver and set Gavin on the road to recovery.

“I was very grateful for this opportunity,” said Gavin.

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