A 12-year-old Williston boy is still fighting for his life. But the situation is getting worse, and the battle has crippled his family’s finances.
Ashton Hanson has a progressive disease of the kidneys called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.
He’s had to begin nightly dialysis, as well as make frequent trips to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for treatment. Lately, he had had a couple of serious seizures, which sent him back to Rochester and a hospital bed.
“He had eight to 10 seizures in a six-hour period,” his mother Melissa Lindvig said.
He was airlifted to Rochester, and has only recently returned home.
The situation has been emotionally and financially exhausting, Lindvig admits.
“We are just taking things one day at a time,” she said.
Their situation has prompted a few coworkers and friends to band together to put on a fundraiser to help the family. Appropriately enough, the event will feature a favorite food of Ashton’s. Namely, saucy spaghetti, and a lot of it.
Heather Grondahl has organized the event.
“(Ashton and his family) have been doing this for five years, and it’s really crippled their finances,” she said. “So a few of us were talking about how problematic it is, and decided to do a little fundraiser.”
As word got out about the family’s situation and efforts to help them, however, the “little” fundraiser began to grow. Gifts poured in. Trips to exotic locations in the Caribbean like Costa Rica. Gift baskets. Quilts. Mini photosessions. A Disney vacation and more.
“We have a couple of those really nice Yeti coolers, a couple of pretty nice quilts, and some baked goods to auction as well,” Grondahl said. “I think we will have a little something for everyone.”
Those with additional items they wish to donate to the cause can contact Grondahl at 701-570-6106 or email her at email@example.com.
The auction and spaghetti dinner for Ashton and Melissa has been set for 5 p.m. July 21 at the multipurpose building at the UMV Fairgrounds. There will be music mixed by DJ Scott Haugen.
“We just want to have a really good turnout to try to help them with some of their finances,” Grondahl said.
Ashton’s name is on the national registry for a kidney transplant, but he is one of more than 114,000 people hoping for an organ donation to save his life. The boy needs a one in a million match to save his life.
Lindvig has asked the community to go through the Mayo Clinic’s process, to see if they could be his miracle match.
It all starts with a simple questionnaire about health history, available online at mayoclinic.org/livingdonor.
Through this process, an individual who matched Ashton genetically was identified, Lindvig said, but he turned out to be too old to give his kidney to Ashton directly. It’s not yet known whether anything can be done to make that donation work out for Ashton. Lindivig is thus still encouraging people to check to see if they could be the one to save her son’s life.
The Mayo Clinic questionnaire includes current height and weight, so it is a good idea to obtain these figures before beginning the form. The completed application will be reviewed by a care coordinator, who will contact the donor to further discuss the application and the process.
If it appears that a person qualifies to make a living donation, the Mayo Clinic will send them a kit in the mail with materials for urinalysis and bloodwork, to determine if they are a good genetic match for Ashton.
Questions about the process can be directed to LIVINGDONORORGANTP@mayo.edu or by calling 1-866-227-1569.
“Ashton is a 12-year-old little boy, who puts a smile on everyone’s face,” Lindvig said. “He loves drawing, and he has a great imagination. He likes to play with friends, go for bike rides, have sleepovers. That’s pretty much him.”
Ashton also loves fishing and hunting, as well as camping. He had been hoping to go this summer, but the requirement for steady electricity for nightly dialysis has been a styming factor. While he hasn’t been able to go camping, after all, he’s been taking a few golf lessons at Eagle Ridge for the Junior PGA.
“He absolutely loves (golfing),” Lindvig said. “He’s having a lot of fun with that.”
Follow Auction for Ashton online at https://www.facebook.com/events/181151425899538/?ti=icl
Donate to Ashton through PUR International at https://www.purinternational.org/Giving/Details/ashton-s-kidney