When Jacob Trucks was born in April 2018, he had a less than 5% chance of survival. He was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease and chronic lung disease, both caused by a rare condition called prune belly syndrome — three big burdens for such a tiny baby.
At birth, he was immediately flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) and spent five months in the neonatal intensive care unit. All of Jacob’s following surgeries, dialysis treatments, injections, blood work and therapies had one goal: to keep him alive long enough to receive the gift of a new life through a kidney donation.
Jacob’s parents, Holly, a kindergarten teacher in White Hall, and Chris, a cattle farmer, were so happy when they found out Jacob would get a new kidney. Holly’s kidney was a match! On March 2, 2021, she became a living donor for her little boy. Surgeons at another Little Rock hospital removed her left kidney and sent it to ACH where Jacob received his mother’s gift.
Jacob spent 21 days at ACH after his transplant, and his mom says the kidney has worked perfectly since the minute it was connected. Jacob is now 5 years old, and he and his mother are both thriving.
“We are so lucky to have ACH right here in Arkansas,” Holly says. “The whole team knows how to take care of Jacob. They truly are a team. The nurses, the dieticians, the pharmacists… everybody… They all know our family, and they all know Jacob. I have walked with our kidney team for three years… They are top-notch. There’s not one person on the kidney floor who doesn’t know Jacob’s name. And when they know you and your child, you learn to trust them that much more.”
Arkansas Children’s has evolved over the past century from an orphanage, to a hospital, to the pediatric health system it is today. It is now an anchor health care institution for the state providing an unprecedented, expert level of care for more than 170,000 children like Jacob every year.
As Arkansas Children’s prepares for historic expansion and renovation, it needs the support of generous donors like you to continue meeting the growing needs of children in Arkansas and beyond. Over eight years, Arkansas Children’s plans to add 500 new team members, including 100 pediatric providers, and 265,000 square feet of new construction across the health system. With your help, Arkansas Children’s will deliver better access, exceptional outcomes and improved on-campus experiences.
A healthier tomorrow for children like Jacob starts with you. The Trucks family is so grateful for your support of Arkansas Children’s, no matter how much you’re able to give.
“We have a kidney-shaped pillow that somebody donated, signed by Jacob’s transplant team,” Holly says through tears. “That kidney pillow cost maybe five dollars. But Jacob will always have those signatures on that pillow because somebody gave. I’m ecstatic for the million-dollar donations that help build buildings. But the kidney pillow, to my family, means just as much.”
Click here to learn more about how you can support Arkansas Children's this season.