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Andrew Armstrong, a student at Waynedale Elementary, has found out that he will need to start kidney dialysis soon. He was diagnosed at 9 months of age with a blockage in his urinary tract, Posterior Urethral Valves/Hydornephrosis, which did significant damage to his kidneys. Steve and Erin are Andrew's parents. He has one sister, Aubree. His grandparents are Debbie and Mike Benzinger, Tom and Carol Hess, Terry and Brenda Hermes, and Steve and Suzann Armstrong. They all know that a kidney transplant is in Andrew's future.

We are born with two kidneys. Their function is to filter the blood, remove waste and excess fluid, control the production of red blood cells and help regulate your blood pressure. We can live on only one kidney, if it functions properly. Several people are waiting to be tested for compatibilities. Steve, Andrew's father, started the testing process in September but was unable to donate because of problems with kidney stones. It was reported on Monday, February 28 that the testing was moving along well and that there is a close match to Andrew.

The family has contacted Children's Organ Transplant Association, (COTA), Bloomington, IN, to help raise $35,000 for the transplant. COTA is a national charity dedicated to helping families organize their fund raising activities. One hundred percent of all funds raised are used for transplant-related expenses. The Armstrong's have been told that the transplant surgery will cost around $100,000. And, that they need to prove, before the transplant, that they can pay for the surgery and transplant-related expenses before Andrew will be placed on the transplant donor needed list. Two-thirds of that waiting list is for kidneys.

Speerheading the campaign is Rebekah Hubley. On February 22, 2005 restaurant's including Red Robin, Flanigan's and Fazoli's donated a portion of their dinner sales to the fund-raising campaign. She said that other ways of helping Andrew can be by dropping your spare change into the coin canisters with Andrew's picture on them at any of the local retailers or purchasing the "Donate Life" green wristbands. The wristbands can be purchased and cash donations will be collected from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, March 19 at the Avalon Missionary Church's craft bazaar, 1500 Lower Huntington Road. An auction is also scheduled in April. Tax-deductible donations may be made in person at any Bank ONE branch location using account number 1835321728 or mailed to the Children's Organ Transplant Association, 2501 COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403. Checks or money orders should be made payable to: "COTA for Andrew A." Secure credit card donations are also accepted online at www.cota.org.

The family requests that everyone keep Andrew in their prayers, during dialysis and that a donor is found. The green bracelets are a symbol of hope for all of the 86,800 Americans waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, including more than 600 Hoosiers.


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