Twenty-two-year-old David Bell is in need of a kidney transplant and his family is hoping for help from local residents. See below to learn how to help.

David Ball needs your help.

Ball has Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder and is currently at stage-five kidney failure. His kidney function is currently at 13% and his family hasn’t had any luck in finding a matching donor.

“We’ve had quite a few people get tested and so far there’s no match,” said David’s grandmother, Jodie Ball. “The doctors — and I agree with them, because how David is — we don’t think David is going to be able to handle dialysis. Basically, a kidney transplant is his only hope.”

Seventeen years ago, The Evening Leader published a story about the Ball family when David’s mother, Jessica, was in need of a kidney transplant.

Her brother, John, 19 at the time, was a match and donated his, forgoing his chance to join the Marines.

“John was the match so he had to make a choice of either going to the Marines or donating his kidney to his sister. He decided to donate to his sister so he was no longer eligible to join the Marines,” said Jodie. “It was quite a sacrifice because that’s all he ever talked about when he was a kid was joining the Marines.”

David was born on Dec. 26, 1997 weighing just 3 pounds and 6 ounces. He was born three months premature and spent two months in intensive care.

“My daughter and I got a phone call when he was in intensive care one night at 4 o’clock in the morning saying that if we wanted to see him alive one last time, we needed to get to the hospital because he was dying,” Jodie said. “David survived.”

In 2013, David had surgery to have a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) device put in to help with his seizures. VNS helps to prevent seizures by sending regular, mild pulses of electric energy to the brain via the vagus nerve.

Jodie said she and her daughter were at the hospital when David was having his surgery.

The doctors told her that the surgery would take an hour but in actuality, it took 2.5 hours.

“They told me that because of all of David’s health issues, there’s a possibility that David was going to die on the table and that they were going to have him hooked up to a ventilator during surgery to help keep him alive,” Jodie said. “But there wasn’t a guarantee that he was going to make it. When we finally got back to see the doctor, he wouldn’t go in to details. He wouldn’t tell me what it was. He just said the reason it took longer was because we ran into problems. The first thing that came to my mind was David’s going to die.”

David survived.

In 2019, David had blood work which revealed he had high potassium levels. The blood work also revealed that he had kidney failure.

Jodie said that neither of David’s kidneys fully developed and that he only had a few good kidney cells left. Today, he has none.

With each day that passes without a new kidney, David’s chances of survival get smaller.

“I just feel that he has fought so hard in his 22 years of life to stay alive, now it’s time for us to fight for him,” said Jodie. “I pray that somebody comes forward and answers his call and helps him. He’s getting weaker. He has to have a walker to walk. He falls down at least four or five times a day even with a walker. But he’s got such a good heart.”

Jodie said that David is the “most loving and caring person to be around.”

“He has no behaviors, he loves everyone,” she said. “And everyone that meets him seems to love him. He doesn’t like to hurt anybody. If he would accidentally hurt somebody, he tells them he’s sorry and he’ll go sit and cry because he hurt them.”

She said that he knows about death but doesn’t fully understand what’s wrong.

“He knows about death. He doesn’t understand what he’s going through, though,” Jodie said. “But I’ve talked to him and I asked him and he told me ‘No die, me live,’ so David wants to live.”

David has an O-blood type and he needs someone with an O-blood type to be a donor.

Those who want to help can contact the Ohio State University hospital at 800-293-8965 and set up an appointment to see if they’re a match.

When calling, ask for Option 3 and tell them you would like to get tested for David Lee Ball.

The hospital will ask for his date of birth which is Dec. 26, 1997.

OSU will then send a form and that form needs to be filled out and sent back in. The hospital will make contact after.

There won’t be a surgery cost as the surgery will be billed to David’s insurance provider.

The family has a Facebook page titled “Kidney for David” where there are regular updates posted about David’s status.

“I’m just asking for somebody to please help us out with him,” said Jodie. “I don’t know what else to do. I’m just asking for help to save him.”

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