8-year-old inspires, encourages others following kidney transplant

San Antonio native Isabella returned home following special summer camp

By Concetta Callahan - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - All kids want to fit in. That's hard to do though when you're born with a debilitating disease.

Camp John Marc, located just outside of Dallas, hosts a different camp each week throughout the summer for kids battling all sorts of illnesses with a medical team standing by.

One San Antonio girl went there for kidney camp and as it turns out, the eight-year-old was the inspiration some of the kids needed.

Isabella, also more affectionately known as Izzy, left her mom and dad in San Antonio for the first time to attend.

"I miss them a lot. I was crying on the first day on the bus, but I'm okay now," said Isabella Lopez, who is fighting kidney disease.

And she's more than okay.

Izzy's a ball of energy and she's got the swag of those swift-cool dance moves to prove it.

"She is just having fun and being a kid and that's what it's all about," Baylee Simmons, Volunteer Counselor at Camp Reynal said.

You won't find Izzy in the medical building getting dialysis because she's already received her transplant, but that doesn't mean she doesn't remember what it's like and camp counselors said her positivity is rubbing off on the other campers.

"Anytime anybody is feeling down or just getting kind of tired, she jumps up and starts singing or doing a dance and everyone, her personality is just contagious," Simmons said.

This eight-year-old has such a strong spirit. She joined close to one-hundred kids also battling kidney disease on a daily basis.

Izzy's been through so much in her short life. She started dialysis at two days old. By the time she was two-and-a-half, her kidneys had failed.

It would be her dad who'd be a perfect match.

And, at her young age she understands how big that gift was.

"I'm very lucky because I got it," Izzy said.

A transplant means no more dialysis. But she has to make sure she keeps that kidney healthy. That means taking her meds when she's supposed to.

She handles the disease like she does the diving board in the deep end, with a thumbs up that everything's going to be alright.

"I'm like it's alright. It's fine. Just calm down, it's okay," Izzy said.

Words of wisdom to live by coming from an eight-year-old.

Kidney disease may keep her from doing some things, but this little girl sees a future with no limitations.

Izzy went to camp through the Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

They're just one of several hospitals from across the state that sends kids to kidney camp every summer through the Texas Kidney Foundation.

To learn more about that foundation, click here.  

If you'd like to volunteer at Camp Reynal next summer click here.

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