Bradley Monger Needs a “KIDNEY”- Daily News Record

ELKTON — Bradley Monger is an 11-year-old Elkton boy  who enjoys dancing for TikTok, trips to Walmart and going to the Kings  Dominion amusement park in Doswell.

“You’d never think anything was wrong with him,” his mother, Rebecca Monger, said while looking at Bradley in their Elkton home.

Monger  stared down at her son curled up next to her on their family couch.  Bradley played on his iPad and sneaked a bashful peek at the visitors  standing in his living room.

“I told him if he was good today, I’d take him [to Kings Dominion] Saturday,” Monger said. Bradley flashed a smile.

The  strangers gathered in the living room were Brian Martindale, founder of  Kidneys For Kids, who set up interviews for local media on Thursday  with Monger and her son to get word out that Bradley needs an organ  donor. Martindale started his Michigan-based nonprofit to help find  children kidney donors across the country.

When Monger gave birth  to Bradley, the youngest of five, doctors kept telling her something was  wrong. It wasn’t until he was born and tests were run that doctors knew  for sure what the problem was.

“It came back his kidneys,” Monger said. “Now, he has no function in his left kidney, but only 27% in his right.”

Monger  and Martindale met through the Kidneys For Kids Facebook page. Doctors  had recommended Monger post on social media about Bradley’s case, but  she was nervous about maintaining the family’s privacy.

The Mongers want to find Bradley a donor before he reaches 10% kidney function, at which point he will need to go on dialysis.

Dialysis  is a treatment that helps the body function properly with damaged  kidneys. Average life expectancy on dialysis is five to 10 years,  according to the National Kidney Foundation. Treatments can be lengthy  and expensive.

If a person goes on dialysis before receiving a  kidney transplant, their body is more likely to reject the kidney,  Martindale said.

Monger said doctors are not sure when Bradley will reach 10%, but finding a donor earlier rather than later is important.

Bradley  has been hospitalized seven or eight times throughout his life, his  mother said. Some of those visits were in response to Bradley’s high  creatine levels, which reached double the normal amount for a healthy  child.

Bradley was admitted to the hospital three times for severe  bladder infections. He regularly gets bloodwork done and ultrasounds  for his kidneys.

“He doesn’t have the immune system another child has,” Monger said. “If somebody in school is sick, I don’t take him to school.”

Monger  home-schooled Bradley in 2021 because his doctor said his immune system  wouldn’t be able to fight COVID-19 if he contracted it.

“If he gets down, it’ll be hard for him to get back out,” Monger said.

Bradley needs a donor with either Type A positive or Type O negative blood type


People  often worry about their health deteriorating after donating a kidney,  Martindale said, but if a donor has generally good health and two  working kidneys, one of those is essentially a spare.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, as long as a person is cleared, donating a kidney does not affect life expectancy.

In  fact, a 1997 Swedish study followed kidney donors for 30 years and  found that it does not constitute any long-term risk, and the survival  rate among the donor group was actually higher than the group living  with both kidneys. The study said this was most likely due to the fact  that only healthy people are accepted for living kidney donations.

“You  can share that spare [kidney] with a person like Bradley and live a  perfectly normal life,” Martindale said. “I’m proof of that at 60,  almost 10 years after donating.”

In 2011, Martindale tried to donate a kidney to a friend of his, but they were not a match.

Martindale  then decided to join the paired donation program. This allowed him to  donate his kidney to a stranger and move his friend to the top of the  donor list, where he would receive the next kidney that matched his.

In 2012, Martindale made a trip to a local party store for gum in downtown Bay City, Michigan, when his life changed.

Laying  on the counter was a newspaper article about a young girl, Jessica  Shwerin, who needed a kidney. Two days later, Martindale anonymously  called her mom to ask what blood type Jessica was.

They were a match.

Martindale tested at the University of Michigan Transplant Center within two weeks.

“I knew before they knew that I was her perfect match,” he said.

Martindale  and Jessica celebrated yearly dinners in the beginning of their  friendship, on what they called their “kidney-versary.”

“My wife and I consider her like our stepdaughter, a family member,” Martindale said.

Jessica  is 20 now, in perfect health and attending college at Eastern Michigan  University, Martindale said. She helps him advocate for other children  and is on the board of directors for Kidneys for Kids.

Martindale is on a small advocacy trip right now, raising awareness for Bradley and a 15-month-old on dialysis in Norfolk.

Martindale  plans to visit 48 states and 50 cities by the end of 2023, beginning in  May. He aims to get 100 children 100 kidney donations.

“Bradley’s  going to need a kidney very soon,” Martindale said. “By the time  somebody gets through testing and is approved, there’s usually weeks to a  couple of months time before they know that they’re a viable donor. So  the sooner the better.”

Anyone interested in donating can call  Monger at 540-607-8969, or contact Barbara Moore, transplant coordinator  assistant with the University of Virginia Medical Center, at  434-243-5610.


Contact Laura Boaggio at 574-6278 or

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