Jayla Moffett, Awaiting Kidney Transplant

Shopping, friends, sciences classes and dreaming about the future fill Jayla Moffett’s busy high school time. But what seems like a typical teenage life is not typical at all. A 16-year-old Powell High School junior, Jayla Moffett was diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 15. A year later, she continues to wait for a kidney donor and a new chance at life.

Currently, Jayla is on dialysis three days a week at The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Pediatric Dialysis Center. UT Medical Center is the region’s only Transplant Center and offers a Pediatric Dialysis Unit that will celebrate 20 years in 2009. This unit is the only Pediatric Hemodialysis Unit in East Tennessee, and it offers all types of dialysis for children up to 21 years of age. The dedicated group of pediatric dialysis nurses, nutritionist and pharmacist work with the pediatric nephrologist. The unit encourages peritoneal dialysis when it is feasible.

The center’s goal is to transplant children as soon as possible, and the medical center staff recommends living donor transplants as the best option. Jayla is one of nine children currently waiting for kidney transplantation.

While on dialysis, Jayla continued to receive her school lessons through the homebound program and is ready to enter her junior year. She is looking forward to getting back into school. “It’s hard and different,” Jayla says. “I can’t do things that I used to do, but you start to get used to it, and it’s getting better.”

This summer, Jayla was privileged to attend the DCI Dialysis Summer Camp through the generosity of sponsors. She met new friends, learned a better sense of self and learned a lot about her kidney disease. Jayla was honored to be crowned prom queen at the summer camp. She considers herself lucky because she has the support of her family: mother, LeTesha Bowen; brother, LaDeries Davise, 17; and sister, La Myisha Davis, 12.

“The care here has been so good,” Bowen says. “They really take care of her here. They really take care of me here, too. When you feel like you don’t know how to make it through, they are there to pick you up and help you figure things out. I wouldn’t want anyone else to take care of her.”

Jayla is hopeful to one day receive a kidney transplant. However, she is still waiting for a donor.

A successful kidney transplant is the only way of rehabilitating a child with end-stage kidney disease. Children frequently are hospitalized, have to take many medications and frequently miss school and other activities because of their disease. There is a high incidence of depression. A successful kidney transplant helps these children feel more energetic and allows them to resume a more normal life.

Jayla is one of several pediatric patients awaiting the gift of life. Contact the center today if you are interested in donating life by being a living kidney donor for a child or a waiting adult.

For more information about living donation and/or transplant services, contact the Center for Transplant Services at the University of Tennessee Medical Center by calling 865-305-9236. To register to be an organ donor, visit the state’s donor registry at www.tndonorregistry.org.