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Rachel Lehn will never forget the moments before her son Bryce's life-saving kidney transplant. The then-5-year-old Bryce hopped on his surgery cart and announced with excitement and pride: "I'm getting a new kidney." Such enthusiasm is signature Bryce _ an energetic and optimistic boy, who happily ate a McDonald's Happy Meal after his kidney transplant and started kindergarten just a few weeks later. "Nothing slows him down," Rachel said. "He lives every day to the fullest."
Bryce was diagnosed with ARPKD at birth, and, from that day on, Rachel and Matt Lehn knew their son would someday need a kidney transplant. When Bryce's kidney function dipped dangerously low, the family was ready with a donor _ his grandmother.
Bryce, who recently celebrated his sixth birthday, now enjoys T-Ball and swimming. In less than a year, he's packed on four pounds and grown several inches taller _ exciting accomplishments after years of straggling behind other kids his age. Bryce also takes fewer medications and is keeping up with all the other kids in kindergarten.
Rachel's only struggle now _ keeping up with her son.
"He wouldn't let me keep him in a bubble if I tried, and I've tried," she said with a laugh. "Really, he's taught me so much. I wouldn't trade him for anything."
Bryce and his family and friends take part in the Peoria Walk for PKD in September.