There’s a constant twinkle in 14-year-old Melecio Berduo’s eye. It’s there when he cracks a joke. It’s there when he plays with his younger siblings. And it’s there when he tells his story of survival.
Melecio was born prematurely, and doctors immediately knew something was wrong. He was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a rare disorder of the kidneys characterized by protein in the urine and swelling of the body. Melecio’s prognosis was grim. Doctors told his parents, Eluvia and Facundo, that their little boy may only have six months to a year to live.
Melecio stayed in the hospital for several months until he was stable enough to go home with his family. He was treated and closely monitored during the next six years. As his condition worsened, doctors determined Melecio would need a kidney transplant. Eluvia stepped forward and offered one of her kidneys for her son, and Melecio underwent lifesaving transplant surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Melecio is now a healthy 16-year-old who is on the yearbook staff at his school and serves as a safety monitor for his fellow students. He returns to Children’s once a month for checkups and hopes one day to emulate his heroes.
“I want to be a doctor when I grow up, like the doctors at Children’s. I am growing up because of them, because of my transplant.”