JANESVILLE, Wis. (WISN) — An 8-year-old boy has a new chance at life after a complete stranger — a town of Milton police officer — donated one her kidneys to him.
Officer Lindsey Bittorf read about 8-year-old Jackson Arneson after his mother, Kristi Goll, made a public plea for a donor on Facebook.
“This kid, this little boy, is like my own son,” said Bittorf, who is at home recovering. “I just love this little boy with just everything.”
Jackson is also home in Janesville recovering from the June 22 surgery. He is up and walking around and feeling better already.
“He has been eating like crazy. I don’t know, I blame Lindsey,” Goll said. “She must be a good eater because this boy is a good eater now.”
Jackson was born with a condition called posterior urethral valves. His father was a promising candidate, but doctors ultimately ruled him out after discovering he had a minor heart condition. Other family members and friends were also ruled out.
“Virtually, his kidney function has always been below 30 percent,” Goll explained of her son’s condition.
Bittorf didn’t know the family but was among the thousands to read the desperate mother’s plea. She felt compelled to get tested.
“My mom always told me it takes a village to raise a child, and this is one child in my village that I can help,” she said.
Doctors told the family that Bittorf’s kidney was healthy and a perfect fit.
The surgery was a success. Four days after getting Lindsey’s kidney, Jackson was up and walking.
“I just squeezed him forever. I was just really proud of him,” Goll said. “He was up. He was talking. He was awake.”
When Bittorf woke up from surgery, she had one thing on her mind.
“My first question was, ‘How is Jackson?'” she said.
But shortly after the surgery, Jackson began experiencing complications. Both his lungs collapsed and he contracted pneumonia. He spent 11 days at UW Hospital in Madison. He’s home now and on the mend.
“Thank you for giving me a new kidney,” Jackson said to Bittorf.
Bittorf is taking time off from work as she heals. She can’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and relies on family and friends to help her around the house.
When asked if she would go back and donate her kidney again, she said, “Absolutely.”