(FOX 9) - A barbecue restaurant held a benefit to support a 6-year-old girl from southern Minnesota who recently received a new kidney.
Parker Lintelman, 6, was diagnosed with Stage Four Chronic Kidney Disease after a routine wellness check two years ago. Her only symptom was she put odd things in her mouth, like Play-Doh and markers.
On Sunday afternoon, Buddy Boy Fine Barbecue held a fundraiser filled with food, drinks, prizes, and an auction to support the Lintelman Family. More than 100 tickets were sold in advance of the fundraiser, and a number of walk-ins were also expected.
"It's the least that we can do to give: our time and our talents to some friends of ours for Parker," said Joe Cox, the chef and owner of Buddy Boy Fine Barbeque.
The money raised will go toward medical bills and other expenses, such as medications and gas driving back and forth from the family’s home in Fairmont to M Health Fairview’s Masonic Children’s Hospital.
A month after the transplant, Parker’s parents said she is feeling better and getting back to her normal energetic, spicy self. She's even gained seven pounds. But her mom, Elizabeth, said Parker’s medical journey has only just begun. She will likely need a new kidney in 15 to 20 years.
"Overall, she's maintained a really positive attitude. She understands that this is her new way of life—the blood draws and the medication—as much as a 6-year-old can," she said.
Her doctors are still keeping an eye on some areas of concern, but they said the good news is her body isn't rejecting the kidney.
"We're still not clear why her numbers are elevated. We're hoping that Kim the New Kidney is still healing and adjusting to her new body," Elizabeth Lintelman said.
The kidney is named "Kim," showing the family's gratitude toward Parker's preschool teacher, Kim Miller, who donated a kidney on Parker’s behalf, which got her bumped to the top of the transplant list.
The family is so grateful for the outpouring of support.
"It’s fantastic," said Seth Lintelman, Parker's dad. "We live two hours south of here, and there's people that have driven up from our area to be here today."
"We had people donate from across the country, really, to help raise awareness about kidney donation and organ donation and just the importance of that and how it can truly change a life. One decision has can have a ripple effect across the country, and really, that's what the community has shown us is that they care," Elizabeth Lintelman said.
Are you interested in donating? The National Kidney Foundation says if you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one to improve or even save someone else’s life. Donors must be at least 18 years old, and some centers require a donor to be 21 or a little older. Certain medical conditions could prevent you from being a living donor, including uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections. Click here to learn more.
If you need help getting the conversation started, you can call the foundation’s hotline at (855) 653-2273 or email them at email@example.com.