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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Logan Square 9-Year-Old Isayah Tapia Needs Living Kidney Donor

Isayah was born with a rare kidney disorder and has been in and out of the hospital his whole life: "I just want my child to have a better life."

Isayah Tapia poses for a photograph with his stuffed animal panda, Jautry, in Logan Square. Tapia needs a kidney transplant, and his family is looking for a living donor.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — A Logan Square family is searching for a living kidney donor for their 9-year-old, Isayah, who experienced a major setback last year in his battle with a rare kidney disorder.

“I just want my child to have a better life,” Isayah’s mom, Aly Tapia, said. “I don’t want my child to continue going through all of the stuff he’s going through. I want him to live better. I want him actually to be able to be a child.”

Isayah was born with congenital nephrotic syndrome and has been in and out of the hospital his whole life. In 2019, he received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor, which seemed to greatly improve his condition.

“For eight months, everything was perfect. No rejection. Nothing,” Tapia said.

But the boy’s body rejected the transplant in May after he developed herpes simplex virus, and he’s struggled since, Tapia said. His doctors said he needs a kidney transplant from a living donor to have a shot at getting better, she said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Isayah Tapia with his father, Joel, in Logan Square.

Tapia and her husband, Joel, have been desperately searching for a donor for months; they raised more than $8,000 through a crowdfunding campaign and used the money to install billboards across the city.

Despite these efforts, a donor has not materialized, so the search continues. Tapia said she’s looking into installing more billboards because the other billboards were only up during July.

It only takes one donor to vastly improve Isayah’s life, Tapia said.

When Isayah’s not at the hospital, he likes to play video games, collect panda memorabilia and spend time with his younger brother, Kaiden, Tapia said.

The 9-year-old has struggled to make friends and sometimes isolates himself, Tapia said, but he always has a sunny disposition.

“It doesn’t matter how much he goes through, he’s always got a smile on his face,” she said.

Tapia said his positive outlook motivates her to push forward on dark days. Finding a donor would be a “wonderful blessing” for him — and their family, she said.

“It’s been nine long years my boy has been dealing with hospitals. I almost lost my son twice, and it’s just about that time he’s able to actually enjoy his childhood,” she said.

To find out if you’re a match with Isayah, contact the Lurie Children’s Hospital at 312-227-6551.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Isayah Tapia walks with his father, Joel, and stuffed animal panda, Jautry, in Logan Square.

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