Caden Townes was a Halloween baby. Born Oct. 31, 2007, Caden was the best treat his mother, Krista Cade, could have received. She jokes that her son’s birth was not without its tricks, though. Krista had been told her baby was a girl and had planned accordingly. Baby clothes were exchanged and the pink nursery was redecorated.
As he grew, Caden became an active toddler. But his giggles hid a dangerous health condition. Not long before he turned 2, Caden’s cheeks became swollen and he stopped urinating. Krista knew something was wrong. Because Caden had been previously treated there, Krista took her son to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where doctors diagnosed him with Denys-Drash syndrome. This rare disorder causes kidney failure and other health issues, including Wilms’ tumor—a type of kidney cancer.
Doctors told Krista that her little boy was in renal failure and would need a kidney transplant to live. Caden spent three weeks in the hospital and 10 months in outpatient treatment undergoing dialysis while they waited for a donor kidney. He also underwent preventative chemotherapy to inhibit the formation of a Wilms’ tumor. In July 2010, Caden had a successful transplant at the Children’s Carlos and Marguerite Mason Transplant Center, which performed 64 transplants in 2010, including 21 kidney transplants.
Now a thriving 3-year-old, Caden loves to color, play games and get hugs from his cousin Amari. And his mother is grateful for the chance to watch her son grow stronger every day.