The Ottumwa Courier


October 15, 2012

Loy family hopes to help others battling kidney disease

Kidney Walk offers hope, direction, community

OTTUMWA — Tripp Loy blew one last big kiss to his mother on June 27.

Tripp would have turned 3 on July 29 alongside his twin brother, Rowdy.

Alisha Loy, along with her husband, Aaron, found out during their 20-week ultrasound that one of their twins, Tripp, had kidney disease, though they didn’t know its severity until he was born.

While kidney disease can run in a family, that wasn’t the case for Tripp. He had a genetic condition called Kabuki Syndrome, part of which involved mid-line issues, including heart disease and an auto-immune condition, along with his kidney disease.

“For him, that genetics wasn’t about Aaron and I,” Alisha said. “It was a one-time, spontaneous, sporadic mutation. It was just a fluke.”

Tripp and Rowdy were named after Olympic swimmers Tripp Schwenk and Rowdy Gaines, since Alisha and Aaron met through swim team in high school.

Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, covered the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. During blood work for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Schwenk found out he was in kidney failure. Schwenk received a kidney transplant after competing — and winning gold and silver medals — in that year’s Olympics.

“We had the names picked out before they were born,” Alisha said. “After we picked out the names we did find out that Tripp had kidney disease. It was pure coincidence. We found out at the 20-week ultrasound.”

Tripp spent half of his nearly three years at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

“They are the other half of our family,” Alisha said.

Tripp was the mayor of pediatrics, Alisha said, always waving and blowing kisses to every person on every floor.

“Everybody knew Tripp, housekeeping, dietary,” Alisha said. “He was on a feeding tube, he didn’t eat, but the dietary staff knew him ‘cause he’d blow them kisses.”

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