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Princess Anne baby Charlotte receiving life-saving kidney transplant

Charlotte, born with cystic dysplastic kidney, will receive a life-saving kidney transplant. The donor is her father.
Credit: Ralph Musthaler, Delmarva Daily Times
Meghan Rice, of Princess Anne, holds her daughter Charlotte, 1, in their home on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. Charlotte, who was born with small amounts of kidney tissue, requires daily dialysis treatment.

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (Delmarva Now) — A family in Princess Anne is receiving a life-changing gift in the new year.

Charlotte Rice, age 2, was born with cystic dysplastic kidney and has been waiting to weigh enough to be eligible for a kidney transplant. That time is now as she weighs 22.5 pounds and is eligible to receive a kidney transplant in early 2019.

The best part for Rice and her parents, Meghan and Wes, is that her donor can be her father.

“I like it because I know where her kidney is coming from. I know it’s been in her dad and I know she’ll have a piece of her dad," said Meghan Rice.

Charlotte's diagnosis means there was an abnormality of kidney development in utero, said Kirtida Mistry, Charlotte's nephrologist at Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C. in a previous interview. While Charlotte can urinate, which is a good sign for children born with kidney abnormalities, the organ doesn't perform other required functions well — like getting rid of waste and controlling mineral levels.

Charlotte has lived a life of doctor's visits and being hooked up to a peritoneal dialysis machine nightly, which acts as a big kidney to keep her organ system in check. She's used a gastronomy tube for feedings, along with, consuming some solid foods.

Meghan said Charlotte has had all of her work-ups done for the transplant process, but still needs a few vaccinations. The family is planning to have the transplant surgery in March 2019, but it could be as early as January.

Being able to give Charlotte a kidney from a living donor and from her father was always the Rices' goal. Wes said while it's scary, he's happy to give his daughter an organ and help make their lives easier.

“I'm ecstatic about being able to donate,” Wes said.

With Charlotte receiving a kidney donation, the Rices' life will see big changes. Meghan said she'll no longer need to be on dialysis and will start taking new medications. There are concerns about her immune system as the transplant operation will suppress her ability to fight off colds and infections.

Meghan said as Charlotte continues to age their plan is to homeschool her.

The family will continue to support the National Kidney Foundation through its yearly kidney walk post-transplant operation. They've also begun their own GoFundMe to help with expenses after Wes and Charlotte undergo surgery.

As of Dec. 17, the family had raised $2,875 of the $5,000 goal.

The prospect of change and achieving what their daughter has needed basically since birth is an exciting moment for the Rices as they help Charlotte move forward into another period of life.

“It’s pretty amazing honestly,” Wes said.