Douglas student needs kidney transplant

Colin Gholson was born with polycystic kidney disease and now needs a kidney transplant at the age of 16. (KOTA TV)

BOX ELDER, S.D. (KOTA TV) - There are plenty of things most 16-year-olds worry about: school, starting the college hunt, dating, and keeping up with after school activities. One Douglas High School student has much more on his plate. He needs a kidney transplant.

Colin Gholson was born with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease.

"When he was a baby, his kidneys weren't functioning and we weren't sure if he was gonna make it or not," said Colin's dad Sean Gholson.

But, Colin did pull through. He and his family went back and forth to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a variety of doctor's appointments. He finally hit a stable point in his adolescent years.

"Then all of a sudden now his body has outgrown his kidney functions, so now he's in need of a kidney transplant," said Sean.

For Colin, nothing has really changed in his life besides missing school for appointments.

"Well, the doctors always ask me how I'm feeling and I'm not sure if I'm tired because of that or because of school, but otherwise I think I'm okay right now," said Colin.

His parents always hoped he would be a little bit older before needing a kidney transplant as they were told it lasts about 20 years.

"So, getting it when he's 16 he may need it two more times in his lifetime," said Sean. "But here we are and I think he's gonna be able to handle it just fine."

The Gholson's partnered with the Children's Organ Transplant Agency (COTA) to raise money for expenses. The last checked received from the organization was around $39,000.

"It's with him for life, so it's his money. If he needs a transplant again when he's 30 and there's money in the account, he can draw from it. If people donate, it's tax-deductible. They don't take a percentage of the cut, it all goes 100% to the fund," said Sean. It covers everything. It covers travel, it can cover lodging, it covers the potential donors cost if they need help with it."

The good news announced Friday? The donor the family was waiting on test results for was approved, so Colin is getting a new kidney. As long as he can stay healthy, it can be pushed off until the end of the school year so Colin doesn't have to miss any more class.

For now, Colin will continue to do the things he loves.

"I like to run because I'm a cross country runner, so that's what I do. It helps me clear my mind. I also like to play piano, which also helps me clear my mind, relax," said Colin.

He's received tons of support from his friends, teachers, and other community members. It's all been pouring in through multiple fundraisers and donations.

"It's just unbelievable. I guess the word I keep using is blown away. We never thought this much money would be raised this fast, so it's humbling. A lot of people love Colin, he's a great kid, so it's shown through," said Sean.

And the sentiment echoes through Colin as well.

"I'm also blown away, but it's overwhelming. I don't know what to say because the amount of support that my family and I have gotten is so crazy and immense and I'm at a loss of words for it," said Colin.

If you want to help out through COTA for Team Colin, here's a list of events coming up:
-12/7: Get $20 bowl tickets for the Rapid City Rush game. Click here for the link to buy those.
-12/8: Cut-a-Thon at The Hair Force in Box Elder. For a minimum donation of $5, you can get a fresh haircut and wash. Cash only.
-12/9: Dine to Donate at Pizza Ranch on Stumer Road in Rapid City from 5 - 8 p.m. A portion of your meal is donated to COTA for Team Colin.
-1/14: McTeacher Night at the McDonald's on Elk Vale Road in Rapid City. This is from 4:30 - 7 p.m.
1/24: Party for a Purpose. Details on this event are still in the works.

If you want more information, head to COTA for Team Colin's blog here or check out their Facebook page to stay updated on any news.