High School Sports

Lebanon coach and son recovering after kidney transplant surgery

Lebanon High school student needs donor for second kidney transplant

Lebanon athletic director Chad Cruthis' son, Jackson Cruthis, a freshman at Lebanon High School, needs a kidney transplant.
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Lebanon athletic director Chad Cruthis' son, Jackson Cruthis, a freshman at Lebanon High School, needs a kidney transplant.

After receiving his new kidney, donated by his father, 14-year-old Lebanon High School freshman Jackson Cruthis has begun his road to recovery.

Lebanon High School Athletic Director Chad Cruthis said Tuesday that his son, who underwent the seven-hour transplant on Feb. 13, is still a patient at St. Louis Cardinal Glennon Hospital, but could be released as early as Thursday if he continues to improve.

“We were originally told that that the surgery would take four to five hours, but there were some issues with getting the kidney to fit and then hooked up,’’ Cruthis said. “His kidney function is slowly improving each day. It would be great to get him home soon.’’

Chad Cruthis, who was approved in late January to donate his kidney to his son, was released from St. Louis University Hospital late last week. Although still feeling some pain, Cruthis hopes to be back at Lebanon High School within the month.

Born with Posterior Urethral Valve Disorder, Jackson Cruthis underwent his first kidney transplant when he was just 3-years-old. Though he was told by doctors the cadaver kidney would last him five to six years, Jackson was able to keep it for 11.

But two years ago, he started showing signs of rejection, meaning that a second transplant couldn’t wait much longer. The Cruthis family received notice this New Year’s Eve day that Jackson would need the new organ soon.

Three weeks later, Chad Cruthis, who had not been allowed to donate the first time because of high blood pressure, was approved.

When Jackson Cruthis is released from the hospital, he will be homebound for the remainder of the 2018-19 year.

“Jackson will have one of his teachers from school doing the instruction so the change will hopefully go well. We hope to get him out to see some friends over the next few months,’’ Chad Cruthis said. “We have to be careful and he will have to wear a mask to protect against sickness as his immune system begins to build strength back up.

“Hopefully the kidney continues to improve. The next 3-6 months are important in how it functions and how his body reacts to it. Hopefully it won’t try to reject it.’’

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Dean Criddle has worked at the Belleville News-Democrat for 32 years as a sports writer. Dean graduated from SIUE with a double major in journalism and English, is married and lives in Belleville.