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Children's Health

Pediatric kidney transplant puts teen back on the basketball court

Basketball was Matthew Francis’s greatest passion. But kidney disease kept the Far Rockaway teen off the court.

Growing weaker even with intervention

Diagnosed at age 9 with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a disease affecting the 1 million-plus tiny kidney structures (glomeruli) that filter blood, Matthew grew weaker each year.

Matthew and his mother Jennifer Francis, LPN, who also has the disease, alternated dialysis days — three days a week each, for four hours a day. Sunday was their only dialysis-free day. “Each time I had dialysis,” says Matthew, “it worked less and less. I needed a new kidney to save my life.”

Getting back to life with a kidney transplant

On April 4, 2018, Ernesto Molmenti, MD, surgical director of the new Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program at Cohen Children’s, called to say they had found a kidney. “He said I was going to be Cohen Children’s first-ever kidney transplant,” says Matthew. “I knew I’d be famous one day.”

quotation mark He said I was going to be Cohen Children’s first-ever kidney transplant. I knew I’d be famous one day.”
Matthew Francis

The surgery took only 22 minutes. When Matthew awoke after the surgery, he quickly asked his mother, “When can I play basketball?”

Matthew regained his health and resumed the life of a typical teenager — including playing basketball again.

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