Not only does 2-year-old Kaleb Perry have a big belly, he also got his big miracle when a perfect stranger offered to donate her kidney.
Kaleb, of Central Valley, California, was born with prune belly syndrome. The rare condition, also known as Eagle-Barrett syndrome, means that he has no abdominal muscles and instead has a large, swollen belly.
“He doesn’t have a lot of structure because there’s no muscle there so I do think it’s heavy for him but it’s not painful at all,” mom Mandy Perry told InsideEdition.com. “He’s never showed any pain toward it. It’s more just like a wrinkly floppy tummy with no muscle.”
But, the condition does come along with other health issues, she said, like kidney disease and kidney failure. Little Kaleb also had his first five surgeries in utero.
“Despite being in and out of the hospital, it’s never really stopped him from being joyful. His smile is so contagious. He really does love life," his mom said. "If you want to see someone that loves life, just look at Kaleb.”
Recently, the kidney failure began setting in, and the family posted on a Facebook page they made for updates on Kaleb’s health, appealing to their supporters to get tested.
“We had been looking for a donor for over a year already and just hadn’t had any luck,” Mandy said. “We got brave and asked if anybody would be willing to be tested on his Facebook page. We had actually a huge response — there was probably like 100 people that messaged me and said they wanted to get tested.”
But one by one, all of the possible donors fell through for one reason or another, and just as they were becoming hopeless, a woman reached back out and let the family know she was a match and will be going through with the donation. The woman was Susie LeRoy.
Because they lived close, Kaleb and his family got a chance to get to know LeRoy and her family in the weeks ahead of their May 28 surgery.
“She has three kids of her own and they were all around the same age as my kids so she was able to put herself in our shoes and just see how she would feel if she were in our position,” Mandy said. “She’s just an amazing person with so much grace towards us and just very selfless. It’s just amazing that she would sacrifice such a huge thing for someone she didn’t know.”
Mandy said Kaleb’s spirits were high through the kidney disease and transplant procedures, but the biggest change in Kaleb’s demeanor is that he’s finally enjoying food.
“It’s a huge deal to have your child eat,” Mandy said. “He did not like ice cream before and now he loves it.”
To support the family's medical bills, visit their GoFundMe page.