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SUPERIOR - Troops in Afghanistan are raising awareness for a Superior boy in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
In just barely a month they have raised nearly $3,000 and all of the money will go to the National Kidney Foundation.
They also hope their efforts will get Jackson Beattie a donor.
Jackson is just 18-months-old.
"Crazy, full of life, loves life, free spirit,” Jackson’s mother Sara Beattie said.
"Sometimes I do get mad at him but he's so cute it's hard to stay mad," Jackson’s sister Brooklyn Beattie said.
On the outside he looks like a typical toddler, cute and full of energy, but on the inside he has severe kidney damage.
"We had no idea he had issues until he was born," said Jackson’s father Dave Beattie.
Jackson was born with posterior urethral valves.
"He couldn't go to the bathroom when he was in mom's tummy,” said Dave. "All that urine backed up and damaged the kidneys."
The damage was so bad that hours after he was born he was airlifted to a hospital in the Twin Cities for medical attention.
"Surreal, very hard," said Sara.
"I don't know if we were in shock, but it was kind of disbelief," said Dave.
Now after four surgeries Jackson is in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
"He's living on the edge right now of feeling good versus bad," said Dave.
The Beatties say they have been trying to get a donor since last November.
But because of Jackson’s blood type and antibodies it will be difficult.
"It's gonna be a very hard to find him a match,” said Dave. "There's about an 8 percent chance of finding him a kidney."
After hearing about Jackson’s need for a kidney via Facebook, a friend of the family who is serving in Afghanistan rounded up nearly 80 troops and started a walk to create awareness for Jackson and kidney disease.
"People just log their miles just to keep track of them and then they're gonna dedicate them for that next month," said Dave.
"He got others involved and it's been very impressive, a beautiful thing," said Sara.
Back home the Beatties are also creating awareness with their "Keepin’ It Renal" team.
"Kidney disease is also called renal disease and so we came up with the name of keeping it real so we thought well keep it renal," said Dave.
They're the top fundraising team for the Duluth Kidney Walk, raising $16,000 this year alone.
"I'm trying to help so no one else has to get this disease," said Brooklyn.
Jackson’s a little guy, raising big money across the world and teaching life lessons.
"Don't sweat the small stuff," said Dave.
"Just appreciate what you have," said Sara.
The Duluth kidney walk kicks off May 19, 2012 at the Bayfront Festival Park.
Check in starts at 9:00 a.m. and it's free to the public.
If you like to be considered as a donor for Jackson contact the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital at 800-328-5465.