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15-year-old Tristan Phillips has never let being in a wheelchair get in his way.

He attended Feagin Mill Middle in Warner Robins, enjoys fishing with his dad, and plays wheelchair basketball for the Houston County Sharks.

Phillips was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth, making him paralyzed from the waist down. He also has scoliosis and kyphosis. Over the years, it's required 20 surgeries, but is otherwise managable.

But last year, when Tristan was 14, he went in for surgery to have rods put in his back, when, as his mother Tanya Phillips says "for no rhyme or reason, his kidney failed."

Tristan only had one kidney, and without it functioning, he has been forced to leave school behind and trek more than 600 miles 3 times a week for dialysis in Atlanta to keep him alive.

"It just felt like one more thing," says his mother, Tanya. "He's already been through so much."

Now, just in time for Thanksgiving, he's getting a life-saving kidney transplant because his dad, Marty, is a match.

On Tuesday, Marty will have surgery at Emory University Hospital to have one of his kidneys removed, and then transported across the street to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston where it will be transplanted into Tristan.

Tristan says he's excited for the surgery because he misses his friends and is excited to go back to school in January.

If you want to connect with Tristan and his family, you can visit their page at "Tristan's Prayer Soldiers"

Follow 13WMAZ's Tom George on Twitter @thetomgeorge

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