Teenage brothers diagnosed with kidney disease

BUFFALO, NY. (WIVB) –  No mother ever wants to see her children deal with health problems, but for one woman in Niagara Falls, bad news hit her family twice as hard.  Charmaine Upshaw’s teenage sons Daveon, 17, and Davon, 16, were both recently diagnosed with kidney disease and both need transplants.

Just a few months ago, Daveon was completing his junior year season as quarterback for the Niagara Falls High School ftootball team. When asked if he’s any good, he modestly said, “I don’t want to brag. I did okay.”

His brother, Davon, is not as shy when it comes to talking about his football skills. He played in the Cataract League last season, in all positions. “Football was great. I was a star, and I don’t know, I just love football,” Davon said.

Both boys had aspirations to keep playing football after high school, and maybe even play professionally. However, a visit to the school nurse changed everything.

Daveon explained, “The nurse took me out of gym because I was planning to run track so I had to get a physical and I had high blood pressure, like extremely high. So she took me out of gym and referred me to tell my doctors to get it checked out. They found out that it was still high, so they referred me to a heart specialist and the heart specialist said that my heart was good so they referred me to a kidney specialist.”

A biopsy of Davon and Daveon’s kidneys showed they were shutting down. Upshaw was understandably in shock.  “My heart sank because I never heard of it, I didn’t understand, where did it come from?” she said.

Daveon has kidneys that are only functioning at five percent. Instead of a school desk, he now sits at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo to receive dialysis three days a week. A tutor helps him keep up with his school work so he can graduate next Spring, as planned.

Younger brother Davon has 12 percent function in his kidneys and doesn’t need dialysis yet. In order for both of them to get back on the football field, they’ll each need a new kidney.

“Hopefully I can play after a kidney transplant or after high school”, said Daveon. His brother has the same hopes, “If somebody would give me a kidney, I would give back to them. I would give back to everybody,” Devon said.

Upshaw wants new kidneys for her boys because of what the alternatives are. “They can stay on dialysis or they can possibly lose their life, and I’m not thinking like that but those are the possibilities,” the boys’ mother explained.

Hopefully, those are possibilities her family won’t have to tackle.

Daveon’s girlfriend recently turned 18 years-old and wants to give him one of her kidneys. She has the same blood type, but her organ has to match. If everything works out, she plans to go through with the donation this summer, once school is over.  If she’s not a compatible match, both boys will keep waiting on the donor list, hoping for a phone call.

Any transplant surgery would have to take place in Rochester, where the family has had to make several trips to in order to get on the donor list. To help them cover the costs of their expenses, their family and friends are planning a Chinese auction this summer.

The event is planned for Saturday, July 26 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Elks Lodge No. 346 in Niagara Falls, NY. Tickets are $20 at the door, children 5 years old and under are free. Organizers are still looking for sponsors. You can contact Kristine Craft of Women and Children’s Hospital at ckraft@kaleidahealth.org for more information.

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