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15 Years Later: Pioneering Kidney Transplant Leads to Healthy Teen

15 Years Later: Pioneering Kidney Transplant Leads to Healthy Teen



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Ed Yeates reporting Fifteen years ago, a jaundiced, 8-month-old baby was fighting for his life. Today, he's a healthy teenager with a completely regenerated liver.

Fifteen years ago, Kelton Bronson needed a liver transplant right away - but a different kind that had only been performed on two other people.

So in February of 1990, Yvonne and Cory Bronson took their ailing son to Chicago where he became the first boy, and only the third person in the country, to undergo a very experimental procedure.

Surgeons took just a piece - a segment of his mother's liver - and transplanted it into Kelton.

Here in the Bear River valley, things have not changed. The countryside looks exactly the same as it did fifteen years ago. But at the Bronson home, life is very different

From that jaundiced, dying eight month old baby - a lanky, healthy Kelton arrives home from school.

That piece of liver he got from his mother has now regenerated into a full size, fully functional adult liver. And that missing piece inside his mother? That too regenerated.

Yvonne Bronson, Kelton's Mother: "I look at him now - this big, strong, healthy boy - and I just can't imagine our life without him."

Corey Bronson, Kelton's Father: "It's just been wonderful - been watching him grow and - went from teaching him to do little things like walk and talk and play catch - and now, I’m trying to teach him how to drive."

Imagine that - almost 16 - ready to drive!

Over the years, Kelton has won medals from competing in the Transplant games. He's a computer wizard - and more.

And all those anti-rejection drugs he once had to take:

Kelton Bronson: "I hardly take any pills anymore and you see people with these big ole trays of like 50 pills in it. And it used to be like that - but not anymore."

Parent-child transplants are common now. But back then the Bronson's were pioneers - taking a risk - hoping for the best not only for their son - but for all those that would follow.

Yvonne Bronson, Kelton's Mother: "It's wonderful - kids are living because of what we're finding out and i feel like we had a little hand in that - and so I’m quite proud."

And so is Kelton - who lightheartedly at the end of this Valentine's week - can kid about his big old fashioned ten inch scar - left behind from that historic transplant.

Kelton Bronson: "Chicks dig guys with scars. That's what I hear - laughs"

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