When she was only 20 months old, Ramonie Smith was diagnosed with a rare immune system disorder. This disease, called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), has no cure and experts are unaware of the cause. Despite the efforts that her family and the hospital took to treat the FSGS, it caused her body to lose dangerous amounts of protein, retain fluid, and be more susceptible to infection. In fact, her grandmother, Brenda Sharpe, said Ramonie had 13 different life-threatening infections in her bloodstream before she received a kidney transplant.
Her health problems persisted so that by age 3 she suffered from kidney failure and had to be on dialysis for eight hours every single day. This intense treatment lasted for two years until a donor kidney became available. In 2007, Ramonie received a kidney transplant, but the FSGS returned just three days after her kidney transplant procedure. In an attempt to rid her body of the disease, doctors began a treatment in which they replaced her blood with healthy blood. Thankfully, the treatment proved successful and Ramonie has been in remission since then.
Ramonie's family thanks the exceptional doctors, nurses and hospital staff who cared for Ramonie as she underwent all of these problems. Ramonie herself calls Dr. Goggins, one of her transplant surgeons, "My hero." Her mom, Melissa Smith Jones, described the dedication of the hospital staff by explaining, "They laugh with you, cry with you, support you during your triumphs and go above and beyond to love your family and your child."
Ramonie is now able to live the life of a normal eight year old, free from medical restrictions. She said, “I was sick for a very long time. Now I can play and go to school and slumber parties.” Ramonie loves life and is grateful for her transplant.