16 April 2024

Hope Vale boy asks for urgent community help to find kidney donor

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Ly'Jarhl and his two older sisters

12-year-old Ly’Jarhl Bowen-Ludwick (right), pictured with his sisters, is now in stage four renal failure and urgently needs a kidney transplant to avoid dialysis. Photo: Supplied.

The search for a kidney donor is on for a 12-year-old Hope Vale boy who is now in stage four renal failure.

Ly’Jarhl Bowen-Ludwick was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at just eight years old, and his condition recently took a turn for the worse.

His mother, Shannan Bowen, said the news was sudden but not unexpected.

“He was stable for the longest time but all of a sudden, the doctor said that his kidney [function] has declined,” she said.

“I knew it was coming though, I kept building myself up for this day to come but it was still a shock.

“I can’t show emotions, because otherwise he’ll think something is wrong.”

Told by his doctor the chance of finding a kidney for Ly’Jarhl in a remote community was slim, Ms Bowen took to social media to ask the community for help.

She said she was left “speechless” by the amount of community members who were willing to see if they were a match.

“I’ve had a lot of people send me messages,” she said.

“I didn’t really expect this at all, because my kids and myself, we sort of keep to ourselves because of [Ly’Jarhl’s] anxiety.

“We’re just trying to get as many options as possible, in case me and my daughters aren’t a match.”

READ ALSO Efforts ramped up to lift dialysis services in Cape

This year has been particularly difficult for the family, with Ly’Jarhl away at his first year of boarding school.

“It’s very hard having him away, but before he gets real sick, I wanted him to experience boarding school and he wanted to go as well,” Ms Bowen said.

“His sister goes, and so does one of his cousins, so they’re looking out for him over there.

“The school keeps me updated, and he gets blood taken every three months and has telehealth with his doctor.”

Without the transplant, Ly’Jarhl will need to receive dialysis treatment from the end of 2024.

Along with anxiety, Ms Bowen said her son also has ADHD.

“For a child with ADHD, I don’t think dialysis is going to be a good option,” she said.

“I know that you have to sit there for hours, and he can’t even sit still for two or three minutes without moving.”

Community members wishing to test as a donor match can call Ms Bowen on 0458 270 050.

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