'Prayers for Kinnick'
It all happened so fast - on December 31, infant Kinnick Cates was placed on the national transplant waiting list. On January 1, his parents, Jon and Amanda Cates, were told that a liver had been found. On January 2, the successful transplant surgery was performed.
Now, the Newell Good Samaritan Center is working to help the family with the heavy medical costs they have faced.
Co-workers and good friends from the Center will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday March 17 at the Allee Building in Newell. Supper will be served from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. An auction will follow at 7 p.m., with a dance to end the evening. Free will donations will be accepted. A bank account has been set up in Kinnick's name at the American National Bank in Sac City.
Born on July 21, Kinnick has a big sister named Abrey, 2. He was diagnosed at birth with a multisystic displastic kidney. The family was told surgery would be needed, and during the operation, surgeons found the kidney itself abnormal. A week of testing was inconclusive, and a biopsy too provided no concrete explanations. Doctors referred the family to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the top transplant hospital in America, Amanda said.
On December 27th, Kinnick and his parents went for what they were told would be outpatient testing. It saved his life - Kinnick was admitted to intensive care immediately with liver failure and placed on the transplant list.
The transplant was completed in the wee hours of the morning of the second day of the new year. He was admitted to the PICU for approximately one week then transferred to the hospital floor for a week to monitor medications. He will be taking these medications for the rest of his life.
Once released from the hospital, the family remained in Omaha with some very good friends (Chad and Milly Greenway) for two weeks. During his hospitalization the family was separated with Abrey staying with grandmother or being cared for by her father at home. Many weekend visits were made by family and friends. Kinnick and mom returned home on January 25.
Numerous medical bills have arisen. His father remained working as much as possible. His mother joined the Newell Good Samaritan Center in September of 2005. Due to her maternity leave, she had limited paid time off. Staff generously donated their own paid time off to help out.
The family are big Hawkeye fans, so Gloriea Frehse, a fellow employee, has kept residents and staff informed with a centrally located bulletin board with a Hawkeyes theme. She made "I'm praying for Kinnick" pins and football-shaped prayer notes for staff and friends to post on the bulletin board. Several small donations and goodies were also taken to the family at the hospital to help keep costs down.