Ethan Shoniker runs, jumps and screams just like any other toddler. But the little bundle of energy has had anything but a normal life in his short two years.
The son of Brendan and Danielle was born with kidney problems that resulted from an underdeveloped valve in his urethra.
Because his kidneys were underdeveloped, the Shoniker family was forced into a health regimen that included at-home dialysis treatments beginning when the little guy was just 11 months old.
That was followed by dialysis treatments at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) three times a week from the time he was 22 months old until just last month when his father Brendan donated a kidney to Ethan.
To say the family has ridden a roller coaster of emotions and stress since Ethan and his twin brother Rylan were born would be a massive understatement.
“He’s really been through a lot,” said Brendan.
Ethan’s lungs were also underdeveloped, which led to a multitude of viral infections.
If not for the kidney transplant, things would be much different than they are now in the Shoniker household.
While Ethan is just a toddler, Brendan said donating one of his kidneys to his son is more a question about weight than size.
Ethan had to bulk up to 22 pounds before doctors would allow the surgery.
“Once you hit that weight, it’s generally accepted to do the surgery,” said Brendan, adding despite the fact his kidney is about four cm larger than his son’s, Ethan is better off with it than without.
And just like those hand-me-down clothes, Ethan will grow into it.
“Pretty much everything has been fixed,” Danielle said of the health complications Ethan experience prior to the transplant.
Her husband said the differences at home now are incredibly tangible.
“It’s unbelieveable,” he said. “Hopefully within the next year and a half he’ll be going to school and playing soccer and doing the things he should be doing.”
Danielle said the help the family received from doctors and staff at CHEO and the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto was immeasurable.
Ethan’s story is going to be featured in the CHEO telethon the weekend of June 9-10. His story is slated to be broadcast June 10 at about 1:30 p.m. on CTV.