NC father in search of kidney while 2-year-old with brain tumor battles cancer

North Carolina news

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A North Carolina father is searching for a kidney while his 2-year-old daughter fights cancer again after her brain tumor returned.

Henleigh’s treatments just ended a few months ago, but her father Cholly Gilmer said they learned last week her tumor had returned. 

“We are limited on options,” he said. “[Doctors] are going to look into possible clinical trials for Henleigh nationally…and pray that God helps us find a way.”

While doctors search for clinical trials, Gilmer continues his personal search for a kidney. 

“I’ve got a lot to live for, and I’m trying to be here as long as I can for my family,” he said.

A birth defect prevented his kidneys from growing with the rest of his body.

“After high school, I grew out of my kidneys, and they began to fail,” he said in January.

His late mother gave him one of her kidney’s in 1991. Most donated kidneys only last 10 to 15 years, and now he’s looking for a new one.

“I want to be around for my family,” he said, especially for his kids: Jackson (10) and adopted siblings Jameson (3) and Henleigh (2). 

Henleigh has taught Gilmer a lot about living since being diagnosed last March.

“She is a fighter. She’s gone through more than I could in a lifetime. It’s a lot to watch,” he said.

Gilmer was placed on the transplant list last year through Wake Forest Baptist. His health insurance will cover the transplant, including all the donor’s costs. Right now, it’s hunting for someone compatible.

“Even if you are not compatible, there is a swap program,” he said. “You can donate to someone who really needs a kidney and what Baptist will do is find me one, so you can actually help two people.”

His direct siblings aren’t a match, but his faith and family are holding him tight as he waits.

“We are really strong together,” he said.

His blood type is O. If you are interested in donating contact Wake Health at livingdonation@wakehealth.edu or (336) 713-5685.

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