BENTON, Ark. — A vibrant four-year-old boy from Saline County needs a life-saving transplant, and like most transplant families, his parents can't shoulder the financial burden on their own.
What many people don't realize is that transplant procedure costs range from $100 thousand to $800 thousand—between the procedure itself, the medication, and just getting to and from the hospital.
That's why Zane Westbrook's family is asking a national charity for help when their son undergoes a kidney transplant in sixteen days.
Feb. 25 won't just be another Tuesday for the Westbrook family.
Brandy Westbrook, Zane's mother, said it will be a day they remember for the rest of their lives.
"He was diagnosed at 17 months old with something called nephrotic syndrome," she said.
Brandy said biopsies and genetic tests later revealed Zane had FSGS, which is the scarring of your kidneys, and at twenty-months-old his parents knew he would need a life-saving procedure: a kidney transplant.
"Beginning of 2019 is when his kidneys shut down really quickly and he started dialysis May of last year," she said.
Brandy said through monthly visits to Arkansas Children's Hospital she learned about The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA).
"COTA is a non-profit that works with families, specifically with children going through life-changing and life-altering organ transplants," Andrew Tilley, Co-Coordinator for COTA Team for Zane, said.
He said it organizes and guides communities in raising money for transplant patients and their families with local volunteers, like Tilley, who will stick with Zane all his life.
"Most people don't understand how expensive it can be," Tilley said.
He said through prayer and fundraisers the team of dedicated Benton volunteers want to raise $55 thousand for the Westbrook family.
"This could take a year or two years to raise these funds, but these funds will be available to Zane and his family life long," Tilley said.
A special family that will have two of its own in the operating room.
"He wanted to be tested whenever we originally found out," Brandy said.
She said knowing what he could do to save his son's life, her husband, Kirk Westbrook, lost 60 pounds so that he could give his left kidney to the boy who will carry on his name one day.
An act of love from her husband that was hard for Brandy to put into words.
"I'm so proud, just so proud," she said.
In just sixteen days, a normal four-year-old boy who loves to play baseball, spend time with his sister and can build 500 piece puzzles, will get a chance at a brand new life.
Thanks to the man who helped bring him into the world and for the Westbrook family, Brandy said they're sending thanks to the man upstairs.
"God for sure, without him I don't know where we would be. He's kept us strong through all of this," she said.
To help Zane's family you can donate directly here.
There will also be a pancake fundraiser Sunday, Feb. 16, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Holland Chapel in Benton.
100% of the funds that are raised through COTA go directly to Zane's family.