Kidney Transplant Survivor’s Wish Comes True

The Make a Wish Foundation grants 5-year-old Vinnie Dodd a train ride of his dreams.

When Vinnie Dodd was born eight weeks premature doctors told his mother Mary he had a 1 percent chance of survival.

Vinnie was born with posterior urethral valve, a condition where an obstruction occurs in the posterior male urethra as a result of abnormal development in the womb.

Nurses told Mary to hold her son as much as she can – it just may be the last time.

But nearly six years later, Vinnie is a rambunctious, energetic boy moving non-stop around his Azusa home.

Vinnie made headlines when at just two years old, he became the youngest kidney transplant recipient at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Since then, Vinnie’s progress continues to amaze doctors. When he was born, doctors were baffled at why the baby was still alive. Today, doctors are confident Vinnie has much more life ahead of him.

“As long as he stays healthy, he should live a normal life,” said Vinnie’s father Ben.

Volunteers with the Make a Wish Foundation arrived at Vinnie’s home Tuesday bearing the little train enthusiast’s favorite toys – little model cars and trains – as well as a trip to Nevada to ride the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and a steam engine train from Carson City to Virginia City.

Glendora businesses and the also provided dinner and dessert during the wish reveal.

“Vinnie is a great inspiration,” said Make a Wish volunteer Zak Bushey of Glendora. “For a little guy, he’s overcome so much.”

Although speech-delayed, Vinnie is getting ready to attend first grade at Victor F. Hodge Elementary School in Azusa.

Vinnie enjoys playing with his toy cars and trains with his 12-year-old brother Tristin. Anything with wheels – trains, monster trucks, hot rods and race cars – grabs his attention.

“I make him live life,” said Mary, an ambassador for Donate Life. “When he was born they told me he wasn’t going to have a life to live. He’s going to live and he’s going to try everything he can.”

Vinnie’s wish is one of about 400 the Great Los Angeles chapter granted annually for children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening conditions.

For more information on the Make a Wish Foundation, visit the organization’s website.

Sally Reclusado June 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Yes, I know a person who has overcome a transplant. I know him quite well (my husband)!!! Ron Reclusado, long time San Gabriel Valley resident....received a heart transplant on February 7, 1997. He is a retired High School teacher and Varsity Football coach. Many people asked...why aren't you on disability? No way....I can do this. So, taught at Don Lugo High School in Chino until January 2008, when he took a golden handshake too good to pass up. He has continued to coach football at Bonita High School in La Verne. This season will be his 45th year of coaching football!!!! The unfortunate thing, the immunosuppressant drugs have damaged his kidneys. He just now started dialysis. However, his spirits remain high....and he wants to finish this 45th year of coaching!!!
Hazel Lodevico-To'o June 19, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Thank you Sally for sharing your husband's story! Very inspirational!


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