Most children will be asking Santa for the latest toys and gadgets this Christmas, but six year old Joseph Pennington doesn't want anything for himself, instead he wants his father to receive a gift. " I want him to have a kidney so he can play football and stuff with me", explained Joseph.
Joseph's father Walter Pennington is in kidney failure. He was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease in 1998, and it's been an uphill struggle for him and his entire family ever since. " It's been a long battle", said Walter's wife.
But young Joseph is hopeful he can end that battle. He sent Santa his Christmas wish, asking him to bring his dad a new kidney, a simple note that brought his mom to tears. " He could of asked for a lot of other things, a play-station, an X-Box, a brand new bike, but he wants his dad, he wants his dad to be healthy and his dad to play with him", said Susan Pennington.
Walter was lucky enough to receive a cadaver kidney in 2004, but after just seven months the kidney failed and had to be removed. Now, doctors say waiting for another could take up to 10 years, time Walter doesn't have. That's why the family is desperately searching for a live kidney donor match, someone who could grant Walter his one wish. " I am desperate to see my kids go all the way through high school, graduate and move on in their lives", explained Walter.
Through facebook pages, word of mouth, and a clever pink flamingo yard campaign. Family and friends have rallied together in the search for a kidney, hoping someone will pay it forward to this former firefighter who put his life on the line for others. " He's got the will to survive, and he does it for us, not for him, it's for us, he's a very selfless man", said Susan.