PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — People on Facebook are providing support and maybe even the gift of life to a Langhorne family with a little boy in need of a kidney transplant.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list as thousands of patients, including children, are waiting for the gift of life.
Fortunately, with kidneys, they can come from people who are living and that’s what Mason’s family is hoping for.
He’s not ready to walk yet, but Mason Spencer still gets around. The 1-and-a-half-year-old has fun playing with his parents, even though he’s in end-stage renal failure
“He doesn’t know anything different, he’s a smiling, happy little boy,” said Rich Spencer, Mason’s father.
Mason was born with a congenital kidney defect and has had a series of complications.
“In the beginning, there was a lot of fear,” said Mason’s mother, Erica Sveen.
Now, occasionally at the Ronald McDonald house for treatments at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Mason depends on dialysis that happens daily through a catheter.
“Every day he’s around us is a blessing. We went through some rough times,” says his proud father.
Dr. Matthew Levine at CHOP explains that “this would be a small kidney, even for a baby” and that Mason’s best chance for survival is with a kidney transplant, which could be from a living or deceased donor.
People are often inspired seeing children like Mason.
“That’s happened even more frequently with pediatric where people are interested in helping out children who may not have other avenues to get transplanted,” says Dr. Levine.
His Facebook page, Mason the Mighty Needs a Kidney, has attracted all kinds of attention, words of support, and offers to donate.
“It’s been huge for us,” said Sveen before adding, “We never imagined the outreach we would get through social media.”
Seeing strangers care for their son has left them speechless.
“There are no words to describe it. Every day it makes you feel like there is so much good out there. He needs his donor or he’s not going to make it,” said Spencer.
Four people have already gone through the testing process and aren’t matches for Mason.
He’s among thousands of patients waiting for kidney transplants. Doctors say living donations usually provides the best outcomes.