Rudy Gets A Transplant

A children's picture book describing kidney transplants
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“Several months ago someone contacted me telling me that they wanted to send the kids a book about a dog that had to have a kidney transplant. The dog’s name is Rudy. The book is Rudy Gets a Transplant. As far as helping prepare classmates, siblings not affected, and of course, kiddos going through transplant, I’d have to say it is really great and does a superb job for all the parties involved. I read it to Quinnlin’s classmates and they seemed to understand it and had great questions after the reading. It runs circles around anything the hospital has given us for the kids to read (a book and coloring book the kids absolutely hated and made me throw to the donation pile last clean out) so I’d have to recommend it. It’s a positive book with cute illustrations by a child. It’s not too heavy but deals with meds for life and doctor visits before and after. Quinn likes it and can read it by herself but it’s not too juvenile for Gage’s age range either. The author (Stacy Raye Waibel, 2x transplant recipient by the way) didn’t ask me write a review or anything, she just sent the kids the books. I’m going to buy a few and get them to Ginger, our Child Life Specialist, for her to use to prepare patients and their sibs and friends. I am just putting this out there because a lot of parents of kiddos with kids in need of kidney transplants read my blog and so this is just a little tip, a little public service announcment, if you will. It’s a well-spent 10 bucks for those that purchase it.” —Julia Roberts, Director PKDF, Atlanta, GA.


“Thank you for giving me a copy of ‘Rudy Gets a Transplant.’ I read it and was impressed by the warmth and compassion you conveyed through it.””I read to my girls a lot. We’re tired of princesses and fairies. They are hollow – nothing but fluff. I love your stories. They are adorable and have meaning.” —Dr. Raja Kandaswamy, Director of Organ Procurement and Preservation University of Minnesota

“It’s a light, uplifting tale (tail?) that is a must for any parent who has a child facing the terrifying experience of getting an organ transplant. In Rudy’s (a child’s) point of view, he takes you through an almost step-by-step process of prepping for the operation all the way to recovery. Sounds scary, huh? Not the way Rudy tells it. Stacy has the uncanny ability to take away the fears and replace them with positive vibes that assures everything will be all right.

Stacy Raye is no stranger to transplants. She had a kidney transplant in 1995 and a pancreas transplant in 2003. In her book she takes the facts and transplants them into a language that a child can understand, and a parent will appreciate.

The artwork is done by seventh grader, Ali Gratz. She received a kidney from her dad in 2006. Together, Stacy and Ali make one dynamic duo.

Rudy Gets a Transplant is not only for children in need of transplants. It’s a fun learning adventure for any kid.”

David Fingerman, Author and Vice President of the Minneapolis Writers Group


In this book the author takes the same child friendly character of Rudy the dog and takes the reader through Rudy’s experience getting a transplant. The book begins with Rudy not feeling very well and needing a transplant. The story line goes through where the kidney comes from by age appropriately discussing living donation or “sometimes it comes from someone you don’t know” rather than introducing that someone died to provide the kidney. This was a good way to address the kidney donor without being too realistic about organ donation at death which could be frightening to a child. In this story line, Rudy’s brother donates the kidney. The accounting of the actual transplant was very simplistic as Stacy writes, “I was in surgery for almost five hours. It didn’t seem that long though. It felt like nap time.” Any more detail would be too much for such young children. The only medical explanation of the procedure was that Rudy had a tube put into his leg to address the IV. The book also educates the reader about the importance of anti-rejection meds and that it is important to never forget to take the medicine. The recovery was a bit unrealistic saying just that Rudy “took it a little easy because I had stitches in my tummy” and then after being in the hospital for 8 days “soon I was back home and chasing my big brother Dexter (kidney donor) around.” I think this book would certainly help take some of the apprehension and fear away from a young child facing a transplant, or to help a child understand when a family member has a transplant.”

About the reviewer:
Laura Weber has thrived with CKD for 40 years and was blessed with a new kidney in 2005. She is a member of the Patient and Family Council Executive Committee at the National Kidney Foundation.  Laura balances a strong commitment to give back by promoting awareness of kidney disease and transplantation with a busy career as Vice President of Business Development and her family.