Paul Grandinette, Jr. (PJ) is a fun-loving, 9-year-old organ transplant ‘Wario’ (Super Mario fans who are brave warriors) from Springfield, OH. He & his brother, Remmy (age 7), LOVE Mario Kart, Legos, Pokémon, going to the park, and cheering on their favorite NASCAR driver, Jesse Iwuji, together with their parents, Kimberly and Paul, Sr.! When PJ grows up, he wants to be a pediatrician to help other sick kids like him and be a daddy!
PJ was born with Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis along with Caroli’s. His liver is swollen, scarring, and the ducts and vessels are not working properly, causing several life-threatening infections. His kidneys are covered with innumerable cysts and he has Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD). About 30% of children with PKD die within their first week of life. Those who survive end up with a variety of concomitant diagnoses (liver disease, breathing problems, hypertension, etc.). Most experience kidney failure before turning 10 and need multiple organ transplants.
In November of 2020, PJ’s labs revealed ‘alarming and frightening’ information. Essentially, his liver was dying and by August, it was critical he have a liver transplant. He was listed #1 on the donor registry, deactivated when he got Covid in September, and reactivated late October. His new liver was sewn in on December 2 after a 2-day surgery. He spent nearly 2 months in pediatric ICU and aftercare, separated from his family with only one parent allowed to visit. On top of this, PJ will soon need a double-kidney transplant, has a brain tumor, extremely high blood pressure, gallbladder, and spleen complications. PJ takes many medications to keep his system functioning, infection-free and to ease his daily pain.
However, you would never know how sick PJ is by looking at him! He is spunky, the life of the party, a friend to everyone he meets, always has the biggest smile on his face, and a true ‘Wario!’ The Grandinette’s joined A Kid Again in 2019 and have had a blast making memories together at King’s Island, Zoombezi Bay, NCAA football games, NHL games, the Zoo, The Wilds, Holiday Parties, and so much more! Remmy loves being treated just as special as PJ. Mom and Dad are grateful to A Kid Again for being by their side through this journey and giving them time to bond as a family with so many fun experiences that they would not otherwise be able to do.
“A Kid Again is the best thing to ever happen to our family. Thank you! Both of us and the boys are always so, so excited for the Adventures! They really, really, really haven’t been able to do much or have much fun these last couple years. A Kid Again always gives us something to look forward to and let us have fun as a family - your team always makes Adventures special for them! PJ has had it so rough lately with the transplant, and it’s been really hard on Remmy not being able to play with his big brother and best friend. We need a little fun in our lives. Thank you so much for giving us these opportunities.” -Kimberly, AKA Mom of PJ