RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – This holiday season while many of us are looking forward to the festivities or searching for that perfect gift for our loved ones, our very own Chief Meteorologist Robert Bettes is giving a part of himself to keep his son’s heart beating.
“He’s an over-achiever, your typical first born,” said Amy Bettes.
Robert Bettes and his wife Amy describe their 20-year-old son, Mason, who was given a gloomy prognosis at birth.
“They did some blood work on Mason and according to that blood work he was in complete renal failure. We had one doctor tell us that it was likely that unfortunately your son was going to die within the next several days,” said Robert Bettes.
According to doctors, once an infant is in renal failure, there is nothing they can do at that point to save them.
“On about the fifth day we ran out of time at the hospital, but Mason had to stay and that night we came home he was still at the hospital and we collapsed on our bedroom floor and we just wailed to God. We had nothing. We didn’t know what to do.”
But the next day, there was a major shift with their miracle baby’s blood work, who was born with only one kidney.
“And his levels started to come down,” Amy said.
It wasn’t until July of this year that they received a dreaded phone call. Mason’s kidney was now failing.
“He said Amy, you have to take him in right now. He said I’m sorry he has to go on dialysis and my heart just dropped even though we knew this day could come. I was just not prepared,” said Amy as she described the Dr.’s phone call.
“That day is a very blurry day. I remember my mom waking me up early in the morning, rushing me to the hospital. She was very panicked,” Said Mason Bettes.
The weeks and months ahead were a little foggy for the UT Austin pre-med biochemistry major.
“That day became very real to me because I had felt so good and so normal all my life that when those procedures and that day came and going on to dialysis it was extremely hard mentally.”
Mason now needed a kidney transplant, and a major shift in his daily life. Aside from college, shadowing a cardiologist, and volunteering at a children’s hospital, he’s also now preparing for that kidney transplant.
“I do about 63 hours of dialysis a week. I do at home dialysis and I have a pretty extensive medication list. I take about 9 pills in the morning, 4 pills in the evening after lunch and then about another 5 pills at night,” described Mason. “Those all help give my kidney a little boost to help in filtering out toxins.”
Mason’s parents were the first one’s willing to give of themselves for their son.
“We started with Mason, so he had to be tested first and then of course Rob and I said we want to be tested,” said Amy.
“What broke the tie was that Mason is a pretty big guy and so they wanted the bigger kidney and even though we’re both matches they chose me because they said, ‘well the bigger kidney, the better it is for your son,'” said Robert.
“Robert, I’ve been following you on this journey. You’ve been sharing when you found out that you would possibly be a match and then when you found out that you were going to be a match, what was going through your mind? You brought your son into this world and now you’re going to give him another opportunity to be here with you guys much, much longer,” asked KVEO Anchor, Brenda Medina.
“I was sitting in my car and got a call from Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital and Carlos the main surgical coordinator said, ‘you’re a match,'” Robert replied.
“I got a call from my nurse in San Antonio and I wanted to break down in tears because I was finally given a date and it became doable,” said Mason. “I started writing how many days until the kidney transplant in my room every day and it made it easier and easier.”
“I’m just praying that the Lord blesses the surgeons and that kidney is accepted by Mason and we don’t deal with this for 30 more years. That’s what I hope, and here’s the perfect irony, you know Mason always wanted to be a doctor,” Robert said.
“Mason has talked about maybe being a transplant surgeon and what a beautiful thing if that works out. He will not only understand because he will have been a patient and I think it will make him a better doctor,” said Amy.
“To my dad I just want to say thank you so much for what you’re about to give me. I love you with all my heart. I’m so thankful for this from you,” said Mason.
The kidney transplant surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning at a San Antonio Hospital.
Robert will not be in for the next few weeks as he and his son recover. Our prayers are with the Bettes family tonight.