Pequeno Príncipe’s first transplant is now 30 years old

Roni Figueiredo received the transplant when he was 8 years old; now he is an emergency ambulance driver

Roni at age 8 with her mother in PP

On the 11th of October of 1989, Roni Peterson Figueiredo was only 8 years old but was already an important part of Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s history. Roni was the institution’s first transplant patient. After more than five years in kidney treatments and eight months of hemodialysis, he received a new kidney and the donor was his mother.

Roni is now 38 years old and is an emergency ambulance driver in Cordeirópolis, in the state of São Paulo. He has been married to Alexandra Figueiredo for fourteen years and has a son, Gustavo. “Since I spent so much time hospitalized, I always wanted to help other people. I passed the selection process and participated in many trainings. The ambulance driver is an active part of saving people and it really makes me feel so accomplished,” he tells proudly.

Roni today, at age 38, with his wife Alexandra
and his son Gustavo

Roni started having health problems before he was even one-year-old, but the doctors where he lived, in the state of Paraná, weren’t able to identify what was causing the boy to have blood in his urine. It was only when he was 3 and a half years old that he was transferred to Pequeno Príncipe. At this point, it wasn’t possible to save one of his kidney, that had to be surgically removed. With only one kidney, Roni continued treatment until he was 8 years old, when he began hemodialysis twice a week. “During this time, I lived in the Hospital. My mother couldn’t see me all the time because we lived far away,” remembers Roni. This extended contact with the medical team transformed the Hospital into a sort of second home for Roni. “Aunt Romilda (one of the Hospital’s nurses), with my parents’ permission, would take me home on the weekends and shower me with love and care. We are friends to this day. These are bonds that last forever,” he shared.

The transplant was done by pediatric surgeon Antonio Ernesto da Silveira’s team. Today, Pequeno Príncipe Kidney Transplant Service has completed 366 transplants.

New chance
Thirteen years after his transplant, Roni’s body rejected the transplanted kidney and Pequeno Príncipe became a part of his life again. He spent two more years doing hemodialysis treatment. “On the 13th of march of 2004, precisely at 8 o’clock, sweet doctor Evelise called me and said: ‘Good morning, Roni, I have good news. I have a kidney for you. Do you want to try?’ I didn’t even give it a second thought and already answered: ‘I’m on my way.’” It’s now been fifteen years since his second transplant and Roni leads a perfectly normal life. “What I have to tell people is that organ donation is a very difficult decision, but that can prolong the lives of other people. I have the opportunity to have a normal life thanks to the difficult decision of the family that donated a kidney to me and to the staff at Pequeno Príncipe, that transplanted me twice,” he recalls.

Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s Nephrology Service

The Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s Nephrology Service has existed for 34 years and is the only exclusively pediatric service in Brazil to offer from clinical assistance to transplants, dialysis and hemodialysis. As well as promoting health that is technically and scientifically excellent and humanized in more than 30 specialties, the Hospital is also a social mobilizer and carries out awareness and information campaigns. Watch the campaign video for the 2019 World Kidney Day.

Pequeno Príncipe transplants

Besides kidney transplants, Pequeno Príncipe also performs heart, heart valves, bone marrow and bone tissue transplant. In 2018, 251 transplants were carried out, being:
- 18 kidney transplants
- 1 heart transplant
- 37 heart valves
- 46 bone marrow transplants
- 149 bone tissue transplants


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