By Sandy Meyer
Two-year-old Evan Ranieri of Riverview has already undergone more medical treatments than most adults have in their lifetime. Evan is suffering from hypoplasia, which in the simplest terms, means that he was born with small kidneys that are unable to sustain function. He was diagnosed with kidney disease when his mother, Melissa Ranieri, was just 20 weeks pregnant with him. “We found out he would have kidney disease of some sort, we just didn’t know to what degree,” Ranieri shares.
In January his parents received the news that his disease had progressed and he would require dialysis. He and his mom now make the drive to Tampa General three days a week for four-hour dialysis sessions. Ranieri admits that it has been difficult for Evan to stay confined during the dialysis. “He just turned two; to keep a toddler confined to a bed is hard,” she says.
Evan was recently cleared for a kidney transplant and his mom has been found to be the only matching donor to date. After insurance, the Ranieri’s share of the costs is estimated to be $100,000. They have turned to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) for help in raising funds. So far they have raised about $46,000, but still have a ways to go.
On Saturday April 13, O’Toole’s Irish Pub in Brandon is holding a fundraiser for Evan. Wristbands will be available for $20 for all you can drink from 7 – 9 p.m.
There will be music and drawings and afterwards, karaoke. In addition, O’Toole’s has generously offered to take 5% off the entire bill during the month of April for customers who show proof of being a registered organ donor and donate it to Evan’s COTA fund. “All the money raised goes into Evan’s COTA account and the money is used for only Evan,” Ranieri advises. She says she is very thankful to the owners, Marcus and Michelle Winters, for their generosity. O’Toole’s is located at 1215 W. Brandon Blvd.
For more information on this event, or to donate directly online for Evan’s cause, please visit www.COTAforEvanR.com. Businesses can also use this website to contact Ranieri if they would like to fundraise for Evan.