Kidney walk unites survivors, family, friends

FLORIDA TODAY | Maria Sonnenberg
Two of the people who will be walking in the NKF Footprints in the Sand Kidney Walk on Saturday morning in Cocoa Beach are Traci Stiles and her son Blake Adams of Merritt Island. Blake, who is 11, has already had two kidney transplants, one in 2011 and another in 2015.(Photo: MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY)
Don’t tell Blake Stiles to take it easy, because this is a young man in perpetual motion, despite two kidney transplants.

Blake was born with only one partially functioning kidney, which eventually failed. Before he was 4 years old, he was already in dialysis and received his first transplant in 2011.

The new kidney soon developed problems. Two infusions of the chemo drug Retuxin as a last-ditch effort to save the kidney did not, and by 2015 Blake was once again on peritoneal dialysis. Later that year, the Merritt Island fourth grader at MILA Elementary received his second kidney transplant.

Immediately after his transplant, he was taking about 20 pills or liquids of eight different medications daily. Though the number of pills has since gone down to six a day, Blake will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life.

You would think all these vicissitudes would have slowed down Blake’s life. You would be wrong. The 11-year-old boy and his new kidney are thriving, possibly because through it all, Blake had way too many other interests to give up. Continue reading

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