Insurance helps, but Las Vegas parents struggle to pay for son’s kidney transplant


Riley Schlei bites a table while his parents speak in their home on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Las Vegas. His parents are raising money for a kidney transplant for him. He has end-stage renal disease. ( (Christian K. Lee/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
To Las Vegas couple Krissy Lough and Jake Schlei, dialysis and doctors are just part of parenthood.

Both have become part of their routine since their son, 14-month-old Riley Schlei, was born with kidney damage that has since developed into end-stage renal disease.

Though Riley deals with the doctors’ visits and daily dialysis like a little trooper, the stress of caring for him is heightened by the knowledge that his parents will soon have to find a way to pay for a kidney transplant and related costs to save his life, his tearful 28-year-old mother said recently in the family’s apartment.

“It’s very rough for any family, and we’re a very young family,” Lough said.

Their situation is hardly unique. In Nevada, roughly 570 people are in need of lifesaving transplants of all kinds. University Medical Center in Las Vegas is the only facility in the state that does transplants, focusing only on kidney transplants, according to the Nevada Donor Network. Continue reading