EULESS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jackson is crossing off the days on his wall calendar, counting down to September 29. “This is the day my mom gets a kidney. That’s the day,” said the 4-year-old, pointing it out. His mother, Jennifer Terry, suffered kidney failure three years ago and had both kidneys removed.
Since that procedure, Terry has survived on dialysis — three hours a day, five days a week — often leaving her too exhausted to keep up with her energetic son. “He’s getting into soccer and doing all these things,” Terry said. “And that’s stuff I want to do. And it’s just horrible.”
“She doesn’t have fun a lot,” explained Jackson.
Terry understands what it is like to have a sick parent. Her own father also suffered from polycystic kidney disease (PKD). “I remember, during the weekends, he’d be in bed sleeping for hours and hours,” she said. He died last November from complications. “He was one of my best friends.”
When Terry’s father died, her doctors were still searching for her kidney. But it was Jackson who helped her find one.
Dana Ladd is Jackson’s aunt on his father’s side, a relative that Terry said she barely knew until the hospital told her that Ladd had gotten tested and come up a perfect match. “I think I just sat there in shock,” said Terry. “She’s saving my life.”
It is all very simple to Jackson. “She has two kidneys. So, she can give one to her and she will already have a kidney,” Jackson explained.
Meanwhile, Terry is now ready to give up her heart to the man who stood by her and Jackson for the last three years, Steven Rothfuss. The two are now engaged and they have set their wedding for next year — also on September 29. “So, every time it comes around, it’s our wedding anniversary and it’s also the day Jennifer got her kidney,” said Rothfuss.
“It’s kind of like a new life,” Terry said. “Getting a kidney is like a new life.”
But nobody seems more excited than Jackson. “Yup,” he said, “I’m ready for that kidney!”