Father Battling Aggressive Cancer Sees Son Receive Life-Saving Kidney Transplant from High School Classmate

Born with primary hyperoxaluria, a rare kidney disease, Miles Wagner, 2, who is followed by Craig Langman, MD, Division Head of Kidney Diseases at Lurie Children’s, was in need of a life-saving kidney transplant. Miles’ condition had already caused him to undergo a liver transplant in 2016

This past fall Ashley Wagner, Miles’ mom, posted a plea on the family’s Facebook page, Team Ryan, asking people to consider donating a kidney if they were a match with Miles. That simple post has now forever changed her son’s life.

Liz Wolodkiewicz, a high school classmate of Miles’ parents, saw the Facebook post and decided to see if she could help. Liz says, “When I started the process of testing to see if I was a match, I just felt ‘If it’s meant to be, it will happen.’” She continues, “As the process evolved, I saw the hope that it brought the family. I found myself praying that it would be me.”

Liz was Miles’ perfect match.

The match was a relief to Ashley and Ryan (Miles’ father). In 2013, just one week after learning Ashley was pregnant with Miles, the Wagners received devastating news. Ryan was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Ryan has been on chemotherapy since 2013 with the hopes of surviving to see his son healthy.

The Wagner Family

On Monday, February 6, 2017, Liz underwent her surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to remove one of her healthy kidneys. Miles waited at Lurie Children’s to receive it and underwent a six hour transplant surgery led by Riccardo Superina, MD, Head of Transplant Surgery.

“Liz has made this time exciting and hopeful for us,” says Ashley. “By donating her kidney to Miles, he has this amazing opportunity for a normal, healthy life. Our hope is that by sharing our story, others will consider organ donation. You never know when an angel will appear. Liz was ours. We are forever grateful.”



Pediatric Kidney Diseases

The Division of Kidney Diseases (Nephrology) at Lurie Children’s has the region’s largest pediatric kidney diseases (pediatric nephrology) team, caring for more than 4,000 infants, children and adolescents each year.

Kidney Transplantation

Lurie Children’s performed Illinois’ first kidney transplant in a child in 1964. Our Pediatric Kidney Transplantation Program now ranks among the nation’s top kidney transplant programs dedicated to children. We perform the eighth highest number of pediatric kidney transplants in the country according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get health tips from our pediatric experts, news about ground-breaking research, and feel-good moments delivered right to your inbox.

Subscribe Now
Patient Stories

Related Posts

After Life-Threatening Accident, Aidan Aces Three World-Class Marathons

Four years ago, Aidan was struck by a car on his bike and rushed to Lurie Children’s with critical injuries to his spine and vital organs. After his recovery, he completed his first Chicago Marathon with Team Lurie Children’s in 2021. 

Read More

A Little More Hope Than Fear: Looking Back on Fetal Surgery for Emmie & Gracie

With the expertise and support of Dr. Shaaban and Lurie Children's Chicago Institue for Fetal Health, Annie gave birth to Emmie and Gracie. Today, the girls are healthy and living life to the fullest.

Read More

With Superhero Strength, Leo Defies Mental Health Stigmas

After being diagnosed with ADHD, Leo began working Lurie Children's Dr. John Parkhurst. Through therapy, Leo learned how to harness his skills and strengths to better communicate with his family and friends.

Read More