Cooper Pfaff NBC Interview

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – At just 15 months old, Cooper Pfaff is defying the odds. He was born with End Stage Renal Disease.

His life has been filled with medical interventions to treat  complications from his kidneys not working properly. Before his parents  could even hold him, he underwent emergency surgery as a newborn to  insert chest tubes, allowing him to breathe.

“He is truly a miracle baby. Like I mentioned before, he really  shouldn’t be here and we’re just so thankful he is,” said his mother,  Kasey Pfaff.


Cooper recently got the go-ahead from his doctors at CHKD to undergo a  kidney transplant. The surgery means hope for Cooper, and a life of  relative normalcy for the Pfaff family.

Cooper’s father Stephen, an Air Force officer, and his mother Kasey,  alternate nights sleeping in a recliner holding Cooper as he spends 10  hours hooked up to his dialysis machine.

“For us, the hardest has been trying to get him his daily shots and  daily medications, nightly dialysis. And I don’t think we’ve had one  month where we haven’t been at the hospital for even a day stay,”  Stephen said.

The Pfaffs also have a 5-year-old son, Griffin. They said caring for  both children and meeting Cooper’s medical needs is a three-adult job,  and they’re doing their best to get by with just two.


“You’ve got one who’s doing the daily grind of working and trying to  bring home the bread. You have one who’s managing both boys and the  households. And you have one who’s doing the medical,” Stephen said.  “So, if you don’t have that kind of support you’re going to be in a  constant state of movement. There really is no slow pace for that.

Kasey said the room that was supposed to be Cooper’s nursery is a  storage room for medical supplies. She maintains inventories for shots  and dialysis fluids.

“I’m kind of like a duck. It looks calm to the eye, but underwater,  the legs are constantly moving. We might appear to be strong, appear to  have it somewhat all together. This isn’t what I thought my motherhood  experience would be like,” Kasey said.

Now, the family must find a match.


“We’re looking for an adult kidney ages 18 to 45. Blood types A+, A-, O +, and O-,” Stephen said.

They’re working with Brian Martindale of Kidneys for Kids to bring awareness to kidney donation.

Martindale himself donated a kidney 10 years ago to a then-stranger,  Jessica Schwerin. Martindale said Schwerin is a thriving 20-year-old  college student now. He and his wife see Schwerin as a daughter.

“It will be the most amazing experience of a person’s life. It will  change your life completely. You realize every day the blessings you  receive,” Martindale said of the donation experience.


The Pfaffs said that their hopes for Cooper’s future depend upon him receiving a kidney.

“For him, his pursuit of happiness is what it comes down to, what  makes him happy, what joy it brings him. [We’re] just figuring out what  that is and watching him grow in that,” Stephen said.

And, if a potential donor isn’t a match for Cooper, they can donate  in his name. Cooper would receive a voucher to move up higher on the  recipient list.

The Pfaffs are raising money to give to Cooper’s eventual kidney donor to cover travel, time off of work, and other expenses.

People interested in donating should visit either Sentara Health’s page or Donate Life.  Cooper’s date of birth is 06/28/2021.

To follow Cooper’s journey, visit his Facebook page

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