Redding Teen And Kidney Recipient Jonnie Cravens Thankful For Renewed Health And Community Support


Jonnie Cravens loves to play volleyball. Her favorite subject in school is math. Like most teenage girls, she enjoys hanging out with her friends. And the 13-year-old from Redding, who received a kidney transplant earlier this year, especially appreciates how good she’s feeling these days.

“The hardest part was before the transplant. I wasn’t really feeling good. I was tired a lot,” says Jonnie, who was diagnosed with chronic renal failure at age 6 and then placed on a waiting list for a kidney transplant in October 2013. Her family received the call this past spring that a nearly perfect match had been found – and Jonnie received her new kidney on Easter Sunday.

Jennifer and John Cravens, Jonnie’s parents, say they are grateful most of all to the family of the kidney donor, a young man who died the day before the transplant operation. “Without that kidney, Jonnie probably would be on dialysis now and things would be a lot harder,” says Jennifer, adding that the donor’s family remains in her prayers.

A school nurse put the Cravens family in touch with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to raise money for Jonnie’s medical expenses. Jennifer says that while portions of the treatments have been covered through her health insurance, the costs still add up. Medications alone, after meeting deductibles, have run from $200 a month to as much as $600 a month for a single antiviral prescription.

COTA for Jonnie aims to raise a total of $50,000 for Jonnie’s care through community fundraisers including the raffle at this year’s Homespun Christmas and Craft Fair.

“All the funds raised for Jonnie through COTA are put into an account in her name, and that money will be there for her continued care,” says Jennifer. “It has relieved a lot of the stress for our family.”

Jonnie says she is thankful to everyone who has supported her over the years.

“I wouldn’t have been able to even have a transplant yet because it costs a lot of money,” she says. “I have a lot of people to thank.” 

Sonia Giordani-Johnston
About Sonia Giordani-Johnston

Sonia Giordani-Johnston is a freelance writer inspired by generous people who do small acts of kindness with great love. She lives in Redding with her husband, their four children, a dog and 12 chickens.

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