MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 103,000 men, women, and children are on the national transplant waiting list. And more than 3,300 are waiting for a new heart.
One Georgia boy is waiting to receive one.
Kash Ivey was born on May 20, 2020. His mother Kurdeijiah Cummings found out her little boy had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome when she was 6 months pregnant. It's when the left side of the heart doesn't form and can affect blood flow to the heart.
When Ivey was born, he had had two surgeries before he was 6 months old.
Spending many days and nights at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - Egleston Hospital, his grandmother, Lakeesia Webb, says when she found out about her grandson's condition, it reminded her of the outcome of one of her pregnancies.
"Being a parent that has lost a baby myself with my son, Jamiltrius, just being one-year-old when his brother passed. Just the thought of him having to, could possibly be go through something that I went through as a tragic," Webb said.
Ivey loves dinosaurs, Blue's Clues, and playing on his tablet. His family hopes they can have more days of this with help from the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA).
"Dealing with his heart transplant and everything else, dealing with after the heart transplant," Cummings said.
COTA "helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. COTA is the nation’s only fundraising organization solely dedicated to raising life-saving dollars in honor of transplant-needy children and young adults."
A spokesperson from COTA told 13WMAZ that the national data, shows the cost of a heart transplant, prior to insurance payments, is more than $1,000,000 (depending on the source).
With COTA, after insurance is applied, they've seen lifetime costs for transplant-related expenses up to $150,000 for a heart family.
While on the waiting list for a new heart, the toddler's family hopes to raise enough money for the transplant. Now, Ivey visits the doctor once every three to six months.
The goal to reach is $40,000.