On February 7, local 13-year-old Kael Cumming's life was forever changed when Carmen Briggs donated her kidney to Kael.

Since birth, Kael has battled kidney complications, which put him on dialysis 21 hours a day. With a new kidney, Kael has now also received the freedom to do almost anything he sets his mind to; a freedom many of us take for granted.

"It's definitely nice to think about, that I'm finally going to be able to do all these things that I couldn't do before because of health setbacks, but now with this new kidney, it's going to be like a whole new world," he said. 

On top of many other things, Kael explained he's most excited to go biking and swimming, activities he's always loved but has been quite limiting in the past. He'll also be heading back to school in April at George Freeman school, and hopes to try many sports including soccer and basketball.

While recovering from a major surgery like a kidney transplant takes time, Kael said the difference was noticeable right away. Even though he still isn't 100% good to go, he said his increased energy, along with a much bigger appetite, has made the process go smoothly up to this point.

"It's been pretty good. The recovery wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be," Kael said.

As for Kael's family, his mother Shelley Read couldn't be happier with how everything went. On top of being extremely grateful to Carmen for donating the kidney, she's been overjoyed with the difference a healthy kidney made in Kael's life.

"I've noticed a huge improvement in his mood, just the way his body looks, his face, his colour. Just being able to look forward to things in the future (is great), before it's always been with a lot of trepidation, wondering what he will be able to do and what he won't be able to do. He has a brightness to him now that he didn't have before," Shelley said.

March is national kidney month, which Shelley explained is a month meant to raise awareness about kidney disease and how important kidneys are to their overall health.

"Kidneys are the workhorses of the body, they will work until they die, literally. They pick up slack for a lot of other organs and a lot of other issues. If you just keep up with your doctor and those yearly blood tests, you can catch things before they happen."

Shelley encourages anyone who is able to consider becoming an organ donor; whether it's while you're alive or posthumously, an organ donation can literally give somebody a second chance at life. In Kael's situation, Carmen's donation has given him a chance to live a normal life that he's never experienced up to this point. 

"It's been amazing, it's a whole new life. Just being able to look forward to things!"

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