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Belleview teen gets another chance at a normal life

Finally after close to 500 trips to the hospital for dialysis, and other doctors appointments, Cole Tumey can finally start to live life as a teenager.
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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BELLEVIEW, Fla. (WCJB) - A teenager from Belleview is getting a second chance at a normal life.

After waiting three years, the 19-year-old finally received a kidney Tuesday. Finally after close to 500 trips to the hospital for dialysis, and other doctors appointments, Cole Tumey can finally start to live life as a teenager.

He's settled in his room. He's feeling really good. He said " I still can't believe it happened". " Mom, look what...

Posted by Chris N Leona Yawn on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Tumey was born with kidney failure but thanks to his mother Leona Yawn, he had a healthy working kidney for 15 years.

“And then when he was 16 we learned that it was failing so he started dialysis here at Shands three times a week and we start the journey of looking for a donor, a living donor,” Yawn said.

And they found one, but Tumey’s blood work changed and his donor was no longer a match, but they never gave up and finally Tumey got the surgery he needed, thanks to a donor from Chicago.

“As of today, at age 19, it’s been a long journey but he has his kidney and it’s working great,” Yawn said.

And so after 36 surgeries over 19 years, Tumey’s mother said she’s excited but there’s still work to do.

“The excitement is still definitely, I’m on a high level of excitement. The fear is definitely still there because getting the kidney is one thing, keeping is healthy and active is another,” Yawn said.

The next step now will be to recover at home for six months with hospital visits twice a week to start. They will have to take extra care due to the pandemic but Yawn said they’ll be ready.

“Something as common as the common cold, bacteria that’s on counter tops things like that can be detrimental to the recipient so through this pandemic it’s been hard to find cleaning supplies and to have those on hand but we’ve learned about social distancing and how to wear our masks, staying away from people and enjoy those things like staying home more,” Yawn said.

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