Caleb needs a kidney!

Help our awesome kid find an awesome kidney!

Caleb's Story

How you can help

 #CalebNeedsAKidney #HarryPotterFanNeedsAKidney #ShareYourSpareWithCaleb

So, you're wondering how you can help? There are lots of options!

1. First and foremost, keep Caleb in your prayers as well as your thoughts, send good vibes, etc. We will take any and all that you have!

2. Consider kidney donation (Keep reading for more information!)

3. Share Caleb's "need a kidney" story with ANYONE you know- through Facebook, emails, your workplace, Twitter, Instagram, your church or any other organization that might help spread the word! You never know who might have an interest!
  • If you would like to have a flyer, scroll down to bottom of website to download!
4. If you’re interested in following Caleb‘s story and getting updates, here are the best ways:

How you can help

Potential Donors

Potential Donors
Kidney donation is pretty miraculous.
  • It can happen in one of two ways- from a deceased person (someone who has had a traumatic, unplanned accident and is considered brain dead and on life support) or from a living donor.

With a living donor...
  • The new kidney would on average provide Caleb with 15-20 years of a normal functioning kidney...or maybe even more with ongoing medical advances!!!
  • Caleb’s medical team strongly prefers a living donor as the kidney will last TWICE as long and assures the best match possible. It also allows him to get this life changing surgery when his body needs it and not have to rely on the unpredictable nature of a deceased donor kidney becoming available. 

We know this is a Big Ask.
  • We appreciate anyone and everyone who would even give organ donation a thought, whether you are family, friend or someone who has stumbled onto this website.

Am I a candidate for donating a kidney to Caleb?
  • Age between 18 and 50(ish)
  • Body mass index (BMI- an indicator of your height to weight ratio) of 35 or lower to consider being evaluated and BMI of 30 or lower to donate.
  • Generally healthy (though it's ok to be on some medication) and without diabetes, history of stroke, cancer in the last 5 years (other than basal or squamous skin cancer)
  • Blood type A or O. Positive or negative doesn't matter. HOWEVER, even if you are a different blood type, you could still help by being part of a paired donation (process where living donor kidneys are swapped so each recipient receives a compatible transplant).

The Big Ask Big Give website provides additional information about living kidney donation.

Step 1: Donation Process

Step 1: Donation Process
THANK YOU for considering the gift of organ donation! We are so touched by your selfless act of love and friendship!

We understand this is a huge ask, and not for everyone. The good news is that you can take the first step to find out if you could be the possible donor for Caleb without us ever knowing, and there is NO obligation!

Here is information on first steps to be a living donor for Caleb:

The first step to donation involves a phone call and screening information. Caleb's transplant will happen at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City but the evaluation and surgery for the donor happens at KU (University of Kansas Health System), just a few miles away!

The call only takes about 10 minutes. The number is 913-945-6929. The call goes to the KU living donor program and calls are answered from 7am-4pm (CST) Monday - Friday. 

You will give them Caleb's name and will then be asked several questions about you and your health. If everything sounds good, they will send you a health background questionnaire and a blood pressure cuff. You'll take your BP for 5 days and then send back the reports of your readings.

When everything is returned to KU, the transplant team will review your information and decide if you are a good match.

It is COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL. We will not know that you called them unless you tell us! 

If you are a match and a good candidate, you are in NO way committed to proceed with the surgery. You are the ultimate decision maker!

Step 2: Donation Process

Step 2: Donation Process
For those who have done the initial screening and are still considering donation.


For those out of town, you may be asked to get some blood work done before coming to Kansas City. 


You will come to KU for about 1 1/2 days of evaluation at the Center for Transplantation. These are done on Thursday and Friday. You will have blood work, x-rays of your kidneys and chest and be evaluated by members of the transplant center team. You will also learn more about the donation and transplant process. You can come alone or with a significant other.

There is NO COST to you or your insurance for this evaluation. It is covered by our insurance.

For further information, here is the KU website link to the living donor program:


We know this is a significant gift of your time to undergo this evaluation. We don't want this to be a financial concern for anyone!

For those out of town, we are more than willing to pay for your flight/transportation and expenses for the trip. We are glad to provide a hotel close to KU or you are always welcome to stay with us, whichever you prefer!

Be aware, if you stay at our house you will be loved by our Basset hounds, have lots of food cooked for you and be gently coerced to play board and card games! :)

(Legalese: Paying for these donor-related expenses is allowable by law and is not considered compensation for kidney donation.)


Once a donor is found, the next step is to plan the date! When the transplant will be done is based on several factors: how Caleb's kidney function is doing, whether he's having a lot of symptoms and of course at the convenience of the AMAZING donor!


Can an adult kidney fit inside an 11 year old?

Yes!  An adult kidney is not that much bigger than a child's. It can easily fit inside an even much younger child!

Will the surgery hurt?

Most donors will have laparoscopic surgery with 3 small incisions by your belly button. You will be in the hospital a couple of days and then can go home. You will have pain medications prescribed for any discomfort you may have. Most people are back to work/school within 2 weeks, some even sooner! Significant lifting and strenuous exercise may take a little longer to get back to.

But what about cost?

Our insurance will pay for all organ donation and transplant-related expenses from evaluation to surgery to follow-up care. We are also glad to pay for any travel related expenses for someone who may live out of town. 

Is it safe for me to donate a kidney?

Yes! People live normal and healthy lives after kidney donation. They should follow up with a medical professional yearly to watch their blood pressure and kidney function. There are some potential risks, and these will be discussed in detail prior to donation. 

Have a question or suggestion?

Please feel free to contact us! Our contact info is below: email, cell, text,  through the contact form, smoke signals, etc. 😃

So what are the next steps?

So glad you asked!
1. Share this info, website, etc to as many groups, social media outlets, etc that you can!
2. Sign up to get updates through Facebook or CaringBridge.
3. Consider whether you or someone you know could be a donor for Caleb!

Contact us

  • John, Erin and Caleb Shonkwiler
  • 11218 NE 113th Terrace Liberty, Missouri 64068