PHM student in need of new kidney

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) --- Like most older siblings, 11-year-old Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation student Alex Deranek loves hammering down on his younger brother Ben with all the big questions.

On March 27th, 2018, Alex Deranek was diagnose with kidney disease.

“Benny, who’s going to win the football game?” Alex asked.

“The Packers!” Ben replied.

Yes, it’s a divided household when it comes to football. But when it comes to Alex’s health, the entire family must be on the same page.

On March 27, 2018, Alex was diagnosed with Stage 4 chronic kidney disease. In August 2019, it progressed from Stage 4 to Stage 5 – the end stage.

“To see him go through it is heartbreaking,” Alex’s mother, Amber Deranek, said.

Every day for the last six months, Alex has had to go through constant dialysis. Along with that are several restrictions to his diet, limited physical activity and a lot of pain.

“You never know how he is going to be feeling. Sometimes in the morning, it’s really rough,” Amber said.

Despite Alex’s pain, he is staying positive. In fact, he says when he grows up, he plans on helping kids just like him.

“I want to become a kidney doctor to help other kids,” Alex said.

Alex currently sits among the top of the kidney transplant wait list, along with nearly 100,000 others, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Not only does Alex desperately need a kidney, he needs two. Doctors say Alex was born with an enlarged bladder and abnormal kidneys that did not fully develop over time like they were supposed to.

Because of that, his dad, Gregory Deranek, says it is now causing both of Alex’s kidneys to fail at a fast rate.

“He literally has a tube that connects to the inside of his body of him. Keeping everything sterile and the environment actually the way it should be is a paramount of importance because one small step sends us directly to the hospital with his health very much on the line,” Gregory said.

Thankfully, Gregory says if he is a perfect match for his Alex, he is willing to donate one of his kidneys to his son – just not the first one. Alex explained why.

“We think it would be better if he gave me the next one instead of this one because it is better to have one in my pocket so we know where we are going next time,” Alex said.

As for where Alex goes now, he will continue attending his fifth-grade class at Schmucker Middle School, proceed with his daily dialysis and pursue his dream of becoming a kidney doctor.

Anyone with an O-positive blood type between the ages of 18-60 willing to go through the kidney donor testing process for Alex is encouraged to contact Amber by calling 502-741-6221 or by emailing