A Glendale woman and a Riddle boy are recovering after a successful kidney transplant in Portland.
Tiffany Spohn of Glendale had agreed to the transplant despite never having met 10-year-old Donovon Dinneen.
Spohn had her left kidney removed at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland before Dinneen, of Riddle, received the transplant at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, April 10.
Donovon’s mother, Shawnda Dinneen, said she was a nervous wreck, but the surgery went really well.
“It was supposed to take five to six hours, and the kidney worked so well once it was attached that it only took four hours,” Dinneen said. “As soon as they hooked it up the kidney started working.”
contracted a bacterial meningococcal disease in 2010, which led to several amputations, kidney disease and eventually dialysis to treat the disease.
For Donovon, the kidney transplant means the end of dialysis and the start of a longer, better quality life without the stomach issues, anemia and weak bones he has been experiencing.
Shawnda Dinneen said Donovon will be able to lead a healthy life like every 10 year old should.
“We wouldn’t be here without Tiffany so we owe her so much,” Shawnda Dinneen said. “She set her life aside and stepped up to help us and it’s just the most beautiful thing ever and we’ll never be able to repay her in any way, but she is always going to be our angel.”
She said Donovon’s energy level grows each day.
“From what I hear, the kidney has been a champ and an over-achiever once it was put in,” she added.
Spohn, 45, said she got up to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland the day before the surgery for a couple last-minute tests, then went in for surgery at 5:45 a.m.
It took four hours for the surgeons to make three incisions and remove Spohn’s kidney. After recovering for a few days at the hospital, Spohn was released and is now resting at home in Glendale.
Though Donovon didn’t want to talk to a reporter from The News-Review, Shawnda Dinneen said he has been feeling well enough to be up and about and playing with the toys provided by Doernbecher, including a ring toss game and his favorite — plastic ride-on toy cars.
“They have a steering wheel you wiggle back and forth, which makes them move,” she said. “He goes out in the hallway and rides around in circles, and he and his brother race around.”
Donovon’s brother, 8-year-old Izaiah, and their father, Charles White, have been staying at a Ronald McDonald House in Portland while Donovon has been in the hospital. Once Donovon is released, he and Shawnda Dinneen will join Izaiah there, and White will return to work in Douglas County.
The Dinneens will be living at the Ronald McDonald House for at least a month after he’s released in order to be close to the hospital. Donovon will need to go in for laboratory tests three times per week to make sure his body doesn’t try to reject the kidney. Donovon and Izaiah will be able to continue their schooling with the teachers available at Doernbecher.
Spohn said her family also came up with her to Portland, including her husband, Aaron Spohn, and two daughters, Darian and Jessica Spohn.
“I got the support of my family,” Spohn said. “They stay by me to make sure I don’t do anything to injure myself.” Though the doctors have ordered her not to lift anything or bend over, Spohn said she’s allowed to walk around the house as the maximum amount of exercise during the next few weeks.
“I’m getting lots of rest, not lifting, and I’m eating a good diet to help myself heal,” Spohn said. She added she’s taking a few weeks off from working at Umpqua Bank in Glendale.
Shawnda Dinneen said Donovon’s recovery is going well, but the anti-rejection medication meant to help Donovon keep the kidney has not been absorbing into his body.
“His body needs to absorb it and eventually it will, it just depends on his body,” she said. “The doctors assured me it wasn’t anything bad, and this is often seen in kids.”
She said the first couple of days after the surgery were rough, as Donovon doesn’t do well with narcotics, but once he began to be weaned off the medication, she saw a big improvement.
“It’s definitely been a roller coaster but in the end we know it’s all going to be very good for him,” Shawnda Dinneen said.