13-year-old receives new kidney 3 years after mother’s murder

13-year-old receives new kidney 3 years after mother’s murder
Kincaid Eaker, 13, was joined by his grandparents, sister and family friends before heading into surgery early Thursday. (Family photo provided to AJC.com)

Most youths his age wanted video games or other electronics for Christmas. Kincaid Eaker, 13, had a much different wish. A kidney.

On Christmas evening, Kincaid’s grandmother got the call that a life-saving donated organ was available. By Friday, he was recovering at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Everything went smooth. He’s doing great,” family friend Brandy Love told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s really a miracle. I just felt his mother’s presence so much.”

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Kincaid was born with a genetic disorder called polycystic kidney disease, the same disease that claimed his older brothers as infants. His mother, Audra Eaker, knew the time would come when her son would need a donated kidney, and she’d told him she was ready.

But on Dec. 27, 2016, Audra was killed by her husband in Woodstock. When Kincaid lost his mother, he lost his second chance at life, or so he thought. Love, his mother’s best friend, was on a mission.

Darrell Eaker, Kincaid’s father, was later convicted of killing Audra in Cherokee County and sentenced to life in prison, plus 16 years, without the possibility of parole for the domestic violence.

“This is how I can honor the best friend I ever had,” Love said in November.

In recent months, Kincaid’s kidney function had declined and was functioning at 14%. He was placed on a transplant list.

Meanwhile, Kincaid still attended school, where he plays the saxophone in band, and swim laps with his team, his grandmother, Elaine Touton, recently said. After her daughter’s death, Kincaid and his older sister, Olivia, moved in with their grandparents in Tennessee.

“God says he’s going to make beauty from ashes, and he already has,” Touton said in November. “I know the Lord is going to take care of everything. I just know he will.”

But the family didn’t know when. After Touton got the call Christmas evening, she called Love.

“I’m jumping up and down, screaming,” Love said.

The Toutons hit the road, arriving at Egleston in the early-morning hours Thursday. Within a few hours, Kincaid was ready for surgery.

“He was so excited,” Love said. “He was nervous and scared but he wanted to get it over with.”

The family was updated during Kincaid’s surgery, which went as planned. Kincaid was tired but doing well on Friday, Love said. He’s expected to move from intensive care to a regular room soon. Then he will spend about two weeks in the hospital and several more weeks in Atlanta recovering, his family said.

In recent years, Christmas week has brought back the horrific memories of losing a mother, daughter and best friend, Love says. Now, the holiday week will have a different meaning.

“He got his kidney,” Love said. “The timing is crazy. I’m utterly amazed at the timing.”

And though he doesn’t realize it yet, Kincaid’s story motivated countless others, Love said. Many have signed up to be potential organ donors through Emory University after learning of Kincaid’s need.

“The chain of reaction is carrying on, and I’m so thrilled about that,” Love said.