Mom gives her child life – a second time

Mom celebrates Mother’s Day knowing she gave teen son gift of life twice.

This year, Mother’s Day has extra special meaning for Jennifer McCombs and her 15-year-old son, Chase Waters. Jennifer has given Chase life again — this time in the form of a life-saving kidney transplant.

“Chase was born with something called posterior urethra valve, and there was a blockage we learned about when I was pregnant that damaged his kidneys in utero,” says McCombs, 42, of Hoover. “Chase’s doctors told us that he would need a kidney transplant one day; we just didn’t know at the time when that day would be.”

One day came about a year ago when it became evident medication no longer could keep Chase's kidneys working; he needed a transplant. Jennifer was ecstatic when tests showed her kidney was a match for Chase.

“For 14 years I hoped and prayed I would be the one to give him a kidney,” McCombs says. “I just really wanted to be the one to do it.”

Chase has had few limitations during the past years. He is an accomplished catcher for his high-school freshman baseball team and has even been scouted by some pro teams. He wanted to play until time for his transplant, but his baseball career was put on hold after the first game this spring. His condition deteriorated to the point he was too exhausted to play.

“This year it’s been hard to practice, because the next day I wasn’t able to get out of bed because I was so fatigued,” Chase says.

UAB transplant surgeons Steve Bynon and Michael Hanaway performed Chase’s transplant April 21. Jennifer’s left kidney was removed laproscopically and transplanted into Chase. The procedure, which took most of the day, was a success. Jennifer was discharged the next day and Chase about a week later.

Chase is recovering, and Jennifer is celebrating this Mother’s Day knowing her son has a new lease on life. She’s also looking forward to his eventual return to the baseball diamond.

“I cannot wait to see him go out there and play and feel good,” she says. “I’ve watched him play and feel bad, and that’s been hard, but I cannot wait to get out there and scream for him.”

And Chase — he is grateful for the sacrifice his mother made for him.

“It amazes me that she would give up one of her organs so that I can live and live a better life, and it makes me happy that I have a mom like that,” he says.