Stories of Hope

Zaccari, kidney recipient

Zaccari is a smiley four-year-old boy who loves all sports, toy cars, and laughing with his big brother. No one would ever guess that he had been critically ill for most of his young life until a kidney transplant saved him — and gave him a chance to just be a kid.

Born with a rare kidney disease called congenital nephrotic syndrome, Zaccari went into complete kidney failure before his first birthday. Over the next three years, Zaccari’s healthcare needs required countless visits to the hospital, multiple surgeries and an intense dialysis routine three times a week at a specialty dialysis center more than two hours away. A kidney transplant was his only hope.

His mom, Ashley, recalls how they tried to stay positive and make the most of Zaccari’s dire situation. “Dialysis was his life support,” said Ashley. “To give our journey an extra purpose, we got a custom flashy decal made for our car that read ‘Be Someone’s Hero… Be an Organ Donor’.”

Zaccari was three-and-a-half, when he and his family received the news that a matching kidney had been donated. The transplant surgery was a success, and Zaccari began showing improvement almost immediately. Today, instead of spending his life attached to a machine, Zaccari is busy playing, dancing and doing lots of cuddling. His parents are eternally grateful to Zaccari’s donor for making that possible, and they actively promote the importance of donation whenever they can.

“I almost lost my Zaccari multiple times, and he is now happy and healthy because someone said yes to a lifesaving donation,” Ashley said. “Our donor saved my son and gave him the opportunity to finally have a normal childhood.”