Eleven year old Sulphur youth thankful, despite illness

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - This Thanksgiving, many among us are thankful for healthy children.  Yet 11 year old Jason Carley of Sulphur believes many children take their good health for granted.  Jason, who needs a kidney transplant, has an amazingly grateful heart-- despite his serious illness and the challenges it presents.

At his mom's house off Patton Street, the turkey is in the oven, the pies are ready to eat. And it's a happy Thanksgiving for Jason and family members there. Jason lives there with his mom and stepfather, Shannon Dobbs and half brother, Sean McDaniel.

Jason loves video games as well as horsing around with his big brother. To look at him you'd never know he must travel to New Orleans three times each week for kidney dialysis because pediatric dialysis is not available in this area. Still, he has a grateful heart. "I think I'm lucky because it gives me a life lesson not to take anything for granted and live life to its fullest."

Jason is on the list for a kidney transplant. His mom, Catherine Dobbs, looks forward to some future Thanksgiving when, she says "Jason doesn't have to be on dialysis and go to New Orleans. You don't know what it's like until you have a child that's sick."

Neither Dobbs or her older son Sean, who accompanies Jason to Children's Hospital in New Orleans, are able to donate a kidney because they have diabetes. In fact, part of Catherine's foot was amputated recently. "Anybody with diabetes, any kind of disease, cannot donate."

Jason's dad is Robert Carley who says he will undergo testing to see if he can donate a kidney. "He's my flesh and blood and I love him to death."

Jason shows remarkable courage. "Yeah, my family gets me through it," he says with sigh.

Jason is well loved by medical professionals in New Orleans and in Lake Charles. Pediatrician and internist Dr. Yoko Broussard has cared for him since birth. "He had one non functioning kidney, but the other one was doing okay and about three years ago we noticed that his kidney function started to worsen. Eventually at some time he's going to need a kidney transplant because we can't dialyze him forever."

Indeed, Jason recognizes the uncertainty of tomorrow.  He is almost apologetic as he admits, " I hate to bring this up, but you can't survive forever on a machine because it doesn't work as good as your kidney."

Yet Jason keeps smiling and strives to make the most of each day.  "I pick on Sean as much as I can, I play as many video games as I can, I play outside as many times as I can, I buy as many bay blades as I can, I watch TV as much as I can and I have fun as much as I can," he says.

Jason's medical costs and transportation are paid for with Medicaid and Medicare. Anyone who wants to help the family with expenses not covered, such as meals in New Orleans, can give to the account in Jason's name at Iberia Bank.

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