Natalie Warner’s story — Her struggles with a rare kidney disease

Natalie Warner

12-year-old Natalie Warner living in Clearwater, Florida was recently diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare kidney disease that scars the filters of kidneys and could lead to kidney failure. To fully treat the acute condition, she eventually had to remove both her kidneys and is currently on a transplant waitlist.

On January 28, 2023, her aunt Danielle Warner organized a GoFundMe to raise $20,000 for her medical expenses. As of the publishing of this article, nearly $15,000 has been raised from 162 donations.

Natalie Warner’s kidney function dropped to 15 percent; she underwent kidney removal surgery

Natalie’s diagnosis of FSGS on September 26, 2022, did not come as a surprise to her family as she was genetically predisposed to developing the disease. This was due to the fact that her father, David Warner, was also diagnosed with the same condition when he was 14 years old.

During her annual health checkup in early 2022, her blood and urine test levels for her kidney function returned abnormal. In August, she was referred to a nephrologist and after running some more blood tests, her condition did not improve.

Natalie’s kidney biopsy revealed the very diagnosis her family feared. As she awaited the eventual kidney transplant, she was treated with lasix (furosemide) and albumin infusions since she was resistant to steroids.

By January 2023, the situation of her kidneys worsened and her kidney function dropped to 15 percent. Her case was forwarded to the surgeons of Tampa General Hospital and her family decided on a kidney removal surgery and peritoneal dialysis cycler. The surgery was initially scheduled to occur sometime between March and April.

Despite Natalie’s health crisis, she continued attending her school as an honor roll student and remained active with her softball pursuits, even being a member of the sport’s travel team.

On February 26, 2023, Natalie underwent surgery for the removal of her kidneys and the installation of dialysis tubes at the John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. By the end of the month, she was making good progress on hemodialysis and just had a minor issue with elevated blood pressure.

“I as her aunt am reaching out for help for the medical expenses that will be coming their way, considering this is not my first rodeo of going through this. I also know it takes a community to raise a child so I ask for those who can’t financially help please pray for Natalie’s success and her doctor’s wisdom.” wrote Danielle Warner on the fundraiser page.

Natalie Warner was discharged from the hospital on March 3, 2023. A parade was organized at Hercules Avenue to welcome her home and celebrate the occasion. The Clearwater Police Department and Fire and Rescue Department along with many supporters attended the parade and cheered as she reunited with her friends and family.