For 7-year-old John Kloft, farm life is just his speed. “We are in a cattle pasture, the barn's over there,” John said, standing in the middle of his family’s farm.
“We're a third-generation family farm,” said his mom Patty. “We raise grass-fed meat.”
Patty and husband Mike, John’s dad, run Lonely Lane Farms in Mt. Angel. It’s been in their family since 1939. For 20 of those years, they’ve had a booth at the Beaverton Farmer’s Market.
“He's been going there literally probably he was about a month old when he went to his first farmers market,” Patty said about John.
She and Mike sell meat from the farm, while John has an important job of his own.
“I do have a job there and ring the bell,” said John. “Which opens and closes the market.”
For almost three years, every weekend John walks around the market ringing a bell that tells everyone to open for business. But earlier this year, the Klofts began to notice something about John that would have sounded the alarm for any parent.
“In May, he had some really bad side pain. We thought it was appendicitis, he got a CT scan and the person who read it, said his appendix is fine, but his kidneys didn't look right,” Patty said.
John was diagnosed with stage four kidney disease. His right kidney functions at less than 20%. So the family flew down to Stanford University after finding the diagnosis to look for answers. The search to take care of the family business didn’t take long.
“I will be the potential donor and I am more than happy to donate if I pass all the tests here next week,” Patty said.
“Yes, my mom is going to be the donor,” John said. “Now hopefully, you know, but you have two kidneys.”
In the next couple of weeks, they hope to get the go-ahead for a kidney transplant for John early next year.
“Through all of this, it's just been amazing. This the support that everybody has given us and our son, just even through saying, ‘Hi, how's he doing?’”
Even the good folks a the Beaverton Farmer’s Market are raising funds to help with the procedure so John can get back to work, both as a farmhand and a bell ringer.
“He's really excited to live on the farm. He takes it to heart,” Patty smiled. “He's excited to be the fourth generation to continue it after Mike and I if he so chooses.”