Local teen makes kidney transplant list

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 9:31 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A local teen living with kidney disease is one step closer to getting a life-changing surgery. Devin Smith, 16, is now on the kidney transplant list.

We caught up with Devin and his mom Erica moments after they received the news at UAB Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

“I’m excited... Like... I don’t even know. I feel so good today... I kinda want to just get out and skateboard in the middle of the street all the way home and I’m not even going to lie to you -- but I’m excited,” said Erica Watson, Devin’s mom.

Now on standby -- they’re waiting for that life-changing call. While you might expect him to be nervous -- not Devin.

“I’m just excited -- I can’t wait. Because I’m able to get a kidney. Just go and get it... and live out my dreams. My dream is to really go to college and play basketball -- my main dreams,” said Devin.

We first met Devin a year ago and learned of his of struggles -- living with kidney failure his entire life. Devin was diagnosed with hydronephrosis shortly after birth. They always knew he would eventually need a kidney transplant. Since starting the process -- it’s taken about a year of back and forth appoints at UAB to get him on the list.

“We have worked so hard since the last time we talked with you... It’s been a long road. You have to go to doctors appointments, dentist appointments. You have to do EKG, you have to make sure everything is working well... On your body to receive any kind of transplant,” explained Watson.

With his kidney function now at 18% -- Devin hopes the call comes soon so he can avoid dialysis.

“Time is really ticking. But time is really ticking -- but he is stable -- but that can change at any moment,” said Watson. “That’s why we have to be ready when they call, have reliable transportation -- and be prepared to go at a moments notice.”

Once a donor is available -- they’ll have a small window to get to UAB -- then expect to be in Birmingham for at least 3 months following the surgery. They’re grateful for the continued support.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out and who has helped us. I really do appreciate you guys and keep us in prayer -- because we still have a long road ahead, but everything is looking good,” said Watson.

Devin’s blood type is “B+” -- If you’d like to see if you qualify as a kidney donor for Devin call 833-822-2841. You can also help the family during the medical journey by clicking here.