Fundraiser for Dexter to offset expenses

Coordinators are finalizing preparations for Saturday's barbecue benefit for Dexter McDade of Tull.

Dexter was born in June 2012 with a serious condition that led to the removal of both kidneys and has been on continual dialysis. The 2-year-old currently is awaiting transplant surgery.

Dexter is the son of Jerred and Alexis McDade.

His mother said her son is "ready for the transplant except for an issue with his bladder. He has a tiny bladder since he has essentially never used it."

"We have met with his urologist, and the option presented to us was not (in our opinion) the right option for Dex," she said.

She did not provide specific information but said the option presented would "impact him for the rest of his life."

McDade said a medical procedure is scheduled Monday and the family expects that to reveal more details on his bladder size and capacity.

"After that, more than likely we will be seeking a second opinion," McDade said. "We could go to Dallas or Memphis, but If this momma gets her way, we will be headed to Philadelphia."

She explained why the Philadelphia medical facility is her choice.

"There's a doctor there that has treated two (that I know of) similar cases and gotten great results," she said. "If we go to Dallas or Memphis, the transplant surgery will still be in Little Rock. If we go to Philadelphia, the transplant will have to be in Philadelphia."

She noted that the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (known as CHOP) is ranked No. 1 in the nation and the urology department is also ranked No. 1.

She said the family's insurance coverage should pay for the transplant procedure "no matter where we go, but a transplant does bring other expenses for travel, food and lodging."

"After the transplant, whenever he is released from the hospital, he will require labs at the hospital two to three times a week," she said.

Saturday's fundraiser is being planned to assist the family with these out-of-pocket expenses the family will incur in conjunction with Dexter's surgery.

McDade encouraged community residents to "please continue to pray for good results from the test, and that we make the best decision for all of us. Thank you all so very much for loving and praying not only for Dex, but for all of us."

A family friend, April Bayles, pointed out that Dexter outwardly does not appear to be as sick as he is.
"People look at Dexter now and see this thriving little guy running and playing. He really looks like he isn't sick at all anymore. But what they don't see is that he has no kidneys, no urine output and a bladder that is too small to function.

"He eats nothing by mouth," she explained. "Everything goes down that cute little tube in his nose. "Occasionally, he might take a tiny sip of water by mouth," she said.

"If you see him with a cup, it's mainly for play. 'Kidney kids,' as they call them, do not have any appetites. And they throw up a lot.

"Dexter is thriving by the grace of God, Bayles said. "He is still a very, very sick little boy."

Saturday's barbecue dinner is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Tull Community Center. A silent auction will be included.

Items are still being accepted for the auction. Donors may call 213-6732.