Generous volunteers raising funds for local child in need of life-saving transplants
[June 19, 2021: Makenzie Hoeferlin]
Paul Junior Grandinette spends just as much time at the doctor as he does playing video games and the 9-year-old has never been able to play high impact sports with other kids.
“He has such a good attitude about everything though,” Kimberly Grandinette said of her son, who goes by PWith the help of his mother, his father Paul Sr., brother Remington and local volunteers, P.J. is preparing for kidney and liver transplants..J.
The Greenon elementary school student suffers from congenital hepatic fibrosis and polycystic kidney disease, diagnosed at birth.
P.J.’s father works at Wright State running the water treatment plant, and his mother teaches at Springfield City Schools.
The cost of one life-saving transplant can often exceed $800,000 and out-of-pocket related expenses such as medication and travel can add up to more than $1,000,000, according to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA).
COTA is an organization that helps children and young adults who need life-saving transplants by providing fundraising assistance and family support. Since the start of the not-for-profit in 1986, more than 2,400 COTA patients have received transplants.
Most of the families working with COTA are referred through a social worker or financial coordinator at a transplant center. The Grandinettes discovered COTA through another transplant family.
Area volunteers are working to raise $70,000 for COTA to aid in these additional expenses for the Grandinette family.
One such volunteer, Emily Adkins, met P.J. while working as a clerk at the Clark County Sheriff’s office and instantly connected with P.J. As a former Make-A-Wish kid herself, she empathized with P.J. and wanted to help.
“I really took to P.J. really quickly because I know it sucks being sick as a kid,” Adkins said. “He’s one of the smartest and sweetest little kids you’ll ever meet. He’ll make friends with anyone.”
A close family friend, Lisa Cox, provides support in any facet she can.
“He’s such a charismatic kid. He’s just got that personality,” Cox said. “Nobody is meant to go through life alone and we have to help each other.”
On Saturday from 3-8 p.m. a booth will be set up at Thomas Cloud Park on Brandt Pike in Huber Heights with baked goods, basket raffles and donation opportunities. All proceeds will support the Grandinette family.
Like any other child living with a life-threatening illness, P.J. and his family adjusted to a different lifestyle.
His childhood is characterized by frequent doctor visits, a restrictive diet and surprise hospital stays.
However, continued community support and faith in God give the Grandinette family strength to conquer their uncertainties about the future.
“It’s nice to have somebody to talk to and to vent about if you have a crappy situation that you don’t have control over,” P.J.’s father said. “It’s nice to have people sit down and pray for you just because. We’ve had people that we don’t even know hear about P.J. and they’re like ‘we’re going to pray for you’ and it makes us feel we are not alone.”
Although faced with an unfortunate situation, the Grandinettes are learning valuable lessons about themselves and others.
One such lesson, according to P.J.’s father, is that an individual’s composed exterior does not always express the harsh reality of a situation.
“Just because somebody acts all right on the outside doesn’t mean they’re all right on the inside,” Paul Sr. said.
“We have also found that people care more than you realize and that all you have to do is ask for help,” P.J.’s mother said.
Grandinette is scheduled for a transplant evaluation later this month where the family hopes to set the date for the procedure.
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