Kidney donor drums up money to pay for private flight to surgery during coronavirus pandemic

Kidney donor drums up money to pay for private flight to surgery during coronavirus pandemic
Paige Flotkoetter is trying to get across the country without contracting COVID-19 so she can donate her kidney to 22-month-old Hudson Nash. (Source: Paige Flotkoetter)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For two years, a Charlotte woman has been ready to donate her kidney to a boy in need who lives in California.

After the coronavirus pandemic hit, the surgery was postponed and now she and the boy’s family are having to raise tens of thousands of dollars to get her across the country safely.

Paige Flotkoetter had never met Hudson Nash. They are distant cousins.

When Hudson’s mom sent a Christmas card pleading for someone to volunteer to donate their kidney to her son, Paige felt compelled.

“If it were me, I would want somebody to step up and do it for me," Flotkoetter said. “There’s no reason not to. I have an extra one so why not share it.”

Jamie Nash, Hudson’s mom, said her son was born with severe kidney damage.

Nearly two-years-old, his short life has been spent in and out of the hospital and on medications to keep him alive long enough to where he was big enough to receive a transplant.

“Since he was born, he had 10 to 15 percent total use between the two kidneys,” Jamie Nash said. “At this point, it’s either dialysis or kidney transplant because his kidneys just cannot support his body.”

This was finally the year.

Hudson’s kidney transplant was scheduled for April.

However, in mid-March, COVID-19 threw a wrench in their plans.

“All transplants were put on hold because they were considered elective surgeries, which I was very surprised by and taken aback,” Jamie Nash said.

So, they waited, not knowing how long the surgery would be postponed, and if Hudson would need to go on dialysis to keep him alive.

The surgery is back on, scheduled for July 7.

However, Jamie Nash said doctors believe it’s too dangerous for Paige to board a commercial flight across the country. She could contract the virus and the transplant would be off.

“We looked at every possible way. Driving her across, renting an RV, what about a train? And what it came down to, the best way to get her here with the least amount of risk is a private plane,” Jamie Nash said.

Nash said she has done her research. Most medical flights only happen regionally.

Flotkoetter needs a flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles. She estimates it will cost anywhere between $20,000 to $25,000 to fly her there on a private plane.

As of Friday afternoon, more than $75,000 was raised.

Since this kidney transplant is expected to last Hudson 15 to 20 years, he will need at least two more transplants in his life. The money they have raised thus far will go to his long-term care, but now they may have to dip into the savings to pay for the private plane.

“This is going to be something he deals with for a long time and if we could use this for his care and not my transportation, which we normally wouldn’t have to do, it would just be fantastic,” Flotkoetter said.

To help the Nash family, click here: https://cota.org/campaigns/cotaforakidneyforhudson

To follow Hudson’s journey, click here: https://www.facebook.com/akidneyforhudson/

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