A kidney for Calvin: When a toddler needed a transplant, his father stepped up

CHICAGO TRIBUNE | Nara Schoenberg
Garrett Hummel and his 3-year-old son, Calvin, look at their surgery scars. After discovering he was a match, Garrett donated his left kidney to his son. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)
Like many savvy suburbanites, 3-year-old Calvin Hummel is quite taken with the shadowy twists and turns of Lower Wacker Drive.

"Where does the 'big tunnel' go?" his parents ask.

Calvin, who is small for his age because of a yearlong struggle with kidney failure, shakes his head at each suggested answer: No, the big tunnel does not go to the police station, to the firehouse or to school.

His dad, Garrett, tries one more time: "Where does the big tunnel go?"

"To the hospital," Calvin says triumphantly.

Calvin, whose kidneys failed two years ago because of a rare genetic mutation, has spent more time in the hospital than most adults, including 11 consecutive weeks during one particularly bad stretch in 2015. But with Father's Day approaching, the North Aurora preschooler is healthy, active and gaining weight like a champ, thanks in no small part to a kidney donation from his dad.

"It's a weird feeling but a good one," to think of your left kidney working in your child's body, said Garrett, 32. Continue reading
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