Opinion: In need of two kidneys, 17-year-old Cooper Moore a patient with patience

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Cooper Moore is a 17-year-old junior at Collegedale Academy, and he's like every other teenager.

He enjoys sports and his friends and is completely comfortable spending time in his room playing video games, his mother Tami Lloyd said by phone Thursday.

"He doesn't really like being the center of attention," she said.

But circumstances demand change, and Cooper's situation is dire.

His everyday teenager demeanor does not reveal that he has failing kidneys.

Not bad kidneys, failing. And not kidney, kidneys.

"It's something we've known about since before he was born," Lloyd said. "When I was pregnant, we knew something was wrong but did not know what. We knew it was something with his bladder and kidneys but could not tell what the problem was."

The outlet obstruction he experienced from birth has led to Cooper dealing with a lifetime of kidney issues, but once he hit puberty, the stress was magnified.

While they knew a kidney transplant was almost assuredly in Cooper's future, the path was expedited at the beginning of this year.

Since he's not yet 18, Cooper is on the pediatric transplant protocol and needs a living donor that matches his Type-O blood. Lloyd's blood type doesn't match, and Cooper's sister is too young.

She said that Cooper's father is not an option and that only a first cousin on Lloyd's side had the same type blood as Cooper.

"But she was only a match on two of the six [requirements]," Lloyd said. "She was prepared to come down from Canada, but it was not a good enough match."

And that's the critical threshold now for Cooper and Lloyd and the family as they work against the clock. Cooper was registered on the national kidney registry and is connected with Vanderbilt. He is ready to go if a kidney becomes available.

Folks who are interested in being tested to be a match for Cooper can start online at tinyurl.com/findAMatchForCooper, look to the Facebook page of 'Kidney for Cooper' or call the Vanderbilt donor transplant center at (615) 936-0695.

Naturally, it's a stressful time for Cooper and his family, but by all appearances, he seems to be handling his physical ailments and the growing need for conversation about them in stride.

In a recent interview with the Southern Accent, the student newspaper at Southern Adventist University, he compared the process to a math test and said, "You don't want to do [it], but [you've] got to do it."

Said Lloyd, who was so appreciative of the support and the efforts of friends and family, among others who have helped to spread Cooper's story, "At first, he didn't want to do the interviews or talk about it. But he did great. We're looking for a needle in a haystack. So we have to talk about it, and the only way we can keep getting people to get tested is to ask."

Clearly, mother and son grasp the severity of the situation, but their perspective and persistence are impressive.

"[Wednesday] was a really bad day," she said. "There are always different things in your normal life, and then you're dealing with ... "

Lloyd didn't finish her sentence, but she didn't have to.

It's clear that she's waiting on that miraculous needle in a haystack of potential donors.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273. Follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

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photo Jay Greeson