LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Sixteen, it's an age when life is mostly about friends, going to the movies, and getting your driver's license. But for one Clarksville boy, his teenage journey, has been something far different.
Arkansas Children's Hospitalhas been Jeffrey Smith's home away from home since he was 12. He's now 16.
"I don't get to see all of my friends as much as I want, cause I'm not able to go to school," says Smith.
Three days a week he makes the drive with his family from Clarksville to Arkansas Children's Hospital.
"I feel real weak and real sick like I am about to pass out."
Jeffrey is on dialysis. His kidneys are failing. As he grew, his kidney's didn't. The 9th grader had a transplant in November, but a few days after surgery, Jeffrey's body rejected the new organ.
His nurse Christine Blaszak explains, "The reason why the kidney was lost was where it was attached in there. For some reason it disintegrated. It was something that we had never seen before."
"I like to swim. That was my favorite sport."
As for his encouragement team, he's got a big one! Wearing t-shirts in his honor, his classmates and teachers celebrated Jeffrey Smith Day at school last week.
It's support his step dad Steve Ziegler is thankful for. He says, "There is a reason why this has happened, and as he gets older we will be able to see the affects of it."
Very soon, Jeffrey will be healed enough to do his dialysis from home. Then, it's back on the transplant list as they wait for another new kidney.
"It teaches me I guess, be thankful for what you've got," adds Jeffrey.
Until then, he's on a strict diet and his activities are limited.
"I thought it was really cool to have a birthday party at the hospital."
It's a rare attitude for this teen who lives anything but a teenage life.
"Make the best of it you can. Just hang in there. It will eventually get better," he says.
Jeffrey plans to get his drivers license this summer and attend kidney camp at Camp Aldersgate.
The money raised from the Jeffrey Smith t-shirts is being donated to the dialysis unit at Arkansas Children's Hospital.