Trinity toddler needs kidney transplant

TRINITY, N.C. -- Sixteen-month-old Hazel Niemitalo has congenital nephrotic syndrome -- a genetic kidney disease.

"The doctor described it like her kidney is like a coffee filter and the holes in her filter are really big, so things are falling out that shouldn't be," said Maria Niemitalo, Hazel’s mother.

Maria says just days after bringing her baby home, she knew something was wrong.

"When she was 12 days old, she started having seizures," she said.

Doctors say eventually Hazel's kidneys will go out.

"They just said it could be months or it could be years," Maria said.

Hazel's been on a waiting list for a kidney at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for a month.

But that waiting list is for deceased donors and Hazel needs a kidney from a living adult.

"Right now, we're hoping to find a living donor," Maria said.

Doctors say Maria and her husband Kenny can't be donors because Maria isn't a match for her daughter's blood type and Kenny has had kidney issues in the past.

For the past six months, they've been looking for a donor on their own, sharing their story on Facebook and other social media.

"It's been really long and hard," she said.

For more information about how to help, you can visit the Kidney for Hazel Facebook page.