WE ARE FAMILY: Father and son Gianpiero and Isaak Battista, of Goonellabah, share a giggle before their kidney transplant next
WE ARE FAMILY: Father and son Gianpiero and Isaak Battista, of Goonellabah, share a giggle before their kidney transplant next

A DAD?S GIFT OF LIFE TO HIS SON

By NERIDA BLOK nblok@northernstar.com.au

GIANPIERO BATTISTA next week will bestow on his seven-year-old son Isaak the greatest gift a father can give ? life.

The owner of Lismore's Left Bank Cafe and his son are preparing for a rare kidney transplant next Wednesday at the Mater Children's Hospital in Brisbane.

Fewer than five kidney transplants each year are done between an adult and a child. The operation comes with both trepidation and relief for Gianpiero and his wife, Rebekka, who have been dealing with Isaak's life-threatening condition since his birth.

Isaak, a grade two student at Summerland Christian School, was born with posterior urethral valves, which Lismore Base Hospital paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall said obstructed his urine.

He has already had four major operations.

Next week, father and son will be in surgery together for up to five hours, but they'll be in separate theatres.

Gianpiero, 42, said when it was confirmed his kidneys were a compatible match, there was never any question about donating one of his.

"Why give him somebody else's when I can give him mine?" he said holding back tears.

"It stays in the family."

Gianpiero said other families they knew had lost children, 'so for us it's just like a second chance'.

He and Rebekka, who also have a three-year-old son, Na- than, said they had always known Isaak would need a transplant.

"We found out when he was three days old," said Rebekka.

"We've carried it for such a long time. Now it's mixed feelings of relief and 'oh my god, it's really real'."

A previous plan in 2000 for the same transplant was abandoned when Isaak's kidney stabilised after preparatory treatment.

"Since then, through diet and medication, doctors have been able to stabilise him," she said.

"They obviously wanted to get him bigger, stronger and healthier. There would have been more complications when he was younger. Now he's at an age when an adult kidney can fit in a child."

Isaak said it was 'good' to be getting one of his father's kidneys and seemed unfazed by the prospect of further hospitalisation.



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