Belleview teenager who desperately needs kidney home after risky surgery

A Belleview teenager who is in desperate need of a transplant recently returned home from UF Health Shands Hospital after undergoing a successful surgery to remove his only kidney.

Cole Tumey shares a moment with his mother, Leona Yawn, before going into surgery earlier this month to have his only kidney removed.

Cole Tumey, an 18-year-old senior at Village Christian Academy, had been battling extremely high blood pressure and was taken to the Gainesville hospital on New Year’s Eve when it hit 191/132 – normal is considered 120/80 – despite the fact that he was on multiple medications to control the issue.

Tumey’s mother, Leona Yawn, said her son is quite happy to be at home after undergoing the 4½-hour procedure on Jan. 9. She said he’s now on seven blood pressure medications versus nine before the surgery. And thankfully, the medications are working, as his blood pressure is much lower.

Cole Tumey, who earlier this month had his only kidney removed during a 4½-hour surgery at UF Health Shands Hospital, has plenty of supporters, as evidenced by the number of visitors who came to spend time with him.
Cole Tumey, an honor student in his senior year at Village Christian Academy in Belleview, holds some of the many cards he received during a recent stay at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

“He’s very tired and weak, however the surgery was a success and for that we’re thankful,” she said.

Yawn added that everything the family – there’s also Dad Chris and little brother Cage – prayed for has been answered.

“The surgery was very risky and could have had a variety of complications,” Yawn said. “We had none. The surgeons also told us his blood pressure may not decrease for weeks to months, and it decreased within 48 hours.

Yawn said she was also very thankful that the family’s church, New Identity Community Church in Belleview, conducted a Facebook prayer chain for Cole with more than a thousand participants and shares. And she added that she appreciates the more than 4,000 likes and hundreds of shares on their “Team Cole” Facebook page.

Belleview’s Cole Tumey enjoyed spending time with a variety of visitors during his recent stay at UF Health Shands Hospital.

“We’re so thankful for everyone reaching out to us and praying for Cole,” she said. “This, along with multiple visitors during his hospitalization, has kept his spirits high and kept him positive for a new kidney.”

Now that Cole is home and recovering, Yawn said the focus is on finding a donor to give her son a healthy kidney. He was born with end-stage renal failure and when he was two years old, Yawn donated a kidney to him that lasted about 15 years. But it eventually started malfunctioning and now that it’s been removed, it’s critical to find the right organ donor.

Cole Tumey, a senior at Village Christian Academy who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant, shares some special moments with his girlfriend, Addie McClain. has been following Cole’s journey and the last time a story was published on Jan. 7, Yawn said she mailed out 38 donor packets and sent 11 emails. This time, she said, they’re hoping for an even bigger response from those who would be willing to donate a healthy kidney.

Those interested in being screened can text their name and address to Yawn at (352) 598-9260 or visit the Team Cole Facebook page by clicking HERE. Cole can receive a kidney from a donor with B or O type blood, Yawn said.

A GoFundMe account also has been established to help with medical expenses, lost wages, insurance copays, food and gas for the many trips back and forth to Gainesville. Click HERE to access that page.

Cole Tumey, who recently had his only kidney removed and is hoping to find a donor soon, says he’s appreciative for all the prayers that have come his way, adding that they give him strength.

Cole also has close family friend Tracy Gooden in his court and she also is doing everything she can to help find a donor. Gooden’s son, Matthew, played T-ball with Cole many years and ago and they have been friends with him ever since.

“Cole is an incredible young man,” Gooden said recently. “He has been through so much and he has not let it bring him down.

“I pray that with his continued positive attitude, his faith, and the help of family and friends, that a kidney donor will be found and he will get through this,” Gooden added.

Yawn agreed, saying: “With God, all things are possible. Love to everyone and thank you for your prayers.”

Yawn added that her son is appreciative for all the prayers that have come his way.
“He said knowing everyone is supporting him gives him strength,” she said.