Kidney transplant boy home for family Christmas
By MARY MANN
SEVEN-year-old Isaak Battista jumped excitedly out of the car at his Goonellabah home yesterday afternoon and ran into the arms of mum Rebekka.
He was greeted by about a dozen family members and 'welcome home' signs, after spending the last six weeks in hospital following a lifesaving kidney transplant.
Dad Gianpiero, owner of Lismore's Left Bank Cafe in Spinks Park, donated one of his kidneys to Isaak last month at the Brisbane Mater Hospital.
The transplant saved the life of the little boy, who had been suffering from a renal condition since birth.
"It's a dream come true," Gianpiero said.
"When I was younger I always thought that to save a life would be a great thing.
"Being able to save my own son's life is like a dream come true."
One of the first to receive a cuddle from Isaak when he returned home was the family dog, Connie.
"I missed Connie the most," Isaak said.
"I like her because she runs and plays with me and she's so cuddly."
Isaak also missed his little brother, three-year-old Nathan.
"They usually sleep in the same room and are really close," Rebekka said.
"They missed each other a lot while they were apart."
She said while in hospital, Isaak had asked her to bring him a photo of the family Christmas tree, because he didn't know if he would be home in time.
"Once he found out he was coming home, he started counting down the number of sleeps," Rebekka said.
"He was so excited, Christmas wasn't the most important thing any more.
"It was the fact he was allowed to come home to us."
Gianpiero said the transplant ordeal had seemed surreal.
"It was really scary at the beginning, but everything went well," he said.
"Isaak looks really good.
"I'm so relieved to have him home."
Gianpiero said that physically, he felt like he'd never undergone the operation.
"I'm amazed at how I feel," he said. "It was painful at the beginning, but I don't feel bad at all now."
The Battistas said they would have to travel to Brisbane so Isaak could have regular blood tests and checkups.
"The tests will start off twice a week and then gradually become less frequent," Rebekka said.
"Isaak will be able to start school again after the Christmas break.
"He's really excited."