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The Ruby of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Shines Brighter Than Ever

Photos: Courtesy of Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Ruby was only 18 months old when she was diagnosed with a single dysplastic kidney. This meant Ruby was born with just one kidney, and that kidney didn’t develop correctly before she was born. This diagnosis led her to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she and her family faced some big life changes.

Ruby’s diagnosis

Ruby’s birth was perfectly normal, and she met all developmental milestones until she was 15 months old. Around that time, her parents noticed she wasn’t growing, and her pediatrician suggested bloodwork. The results showed she was anemic, but there was no known cause for her anemia. Ruby was referred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for more testing, which identified that she did not have a blood problem but a kidney problem. Ruby was in renal failure.

Ruby’s mother Betsy recalls, “We knew moving forward she would need a kidney transplant, but at that point, she wasn’t old enough or big enough to receive one. So, the nephrology team made goals focused on nutrition, kidney function, and getting her healthy for a kidney transplant.”

That following November, in 2017, Betsy received the call that a kidney was available for Ruby. After many tests to ensure the kidney was a good match, Ruby underwent surgery and received her new kidney.

A new chapter

Now, at age six, the pediatric nephrology team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital sees Ruby every two to three months to ensure her kidney function, medications, growth, and development are normal.

“Everyone loves Ruby,” says Dr. Saritha Ranabothu, pediatric nephrologist and transplant director at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “She walks into a clinic and brings a lot of smiles. She’s able to do all the normal activities a 6-year-old can do.”

After her transplant, the nephrology team gave Ruby a “kidney party” to celebrate a new start. Betsy says, “The nephrology team at Arkansas Children’s is amazing. They’ve provided such good guidance, and I know I can always call on them when I have questions as we continue this journey. The kidney party was such a great way for the entire team to celebrate with us.”

Through all of this, Betsy doesn’t forget the family that made the ultimate gift. “Surgery day was very emotional,” she recalls. “To receive a life-saving gift from someone you don’t know is so powerful and humbling. She’s a healthy 6-year-old who loves going to school and playing with her friends because of this wonderful gift she received.”

To learn more about the kidney transplant program at Arkansas Children’s, visit

A celebration of life through transplant

The Arkansas Children’s Hospital transplant teams love to throw a party celebrating transplant milestones. It’s therapeutic for both the family and team members to honor these achievements together. Whether it’s our expanding programs, innovation and research, successful outcomes, or healthy patients, there is much to celebrate.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital provides transplant services for:

  • Cardiology – heart transplants
  • Nephrology – kidney transplants
  • Cancer and blood disorders – blood marrow transplants

Heart Fact: TheArkansas Children’s Heart Center achieved a remarkable 100 percent surgical survival rate last year, including heart transplants.

Kidney Fact: The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) reports 95 percent of Arkansas Children’s Hospital patients received a kidney within one year of entering the waiting list, with extremely high post-transplant survival rates.

To contact one of the transplant services at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, call (501) 430-3142.

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