NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —  “Joyful, mischievous, playful…he really is light of our family,” said Dr. Christel Malinski.

“He just gives the best hugs that you would ever want. He just has this awesome smile. He smiles with his whole face, his eyes, everything. It’s a beautiful thing,” said John Malinski.

The Malinski’s are describing their beloved son, John David.

This adorable 7-year-old boy was diagnosed with Down syndrome and kidney disease when he was in his mother’s womb.

Since then, his parents and doctors have kept a close eye on his kidney function.

“We knew at some point he was going to need a transplant. It wasn’t ‘if’—it was when,” said Dr. Malinsky.

So in the last seven years, Dr. Christel Malinski – a dermatologist – opened up her own practice, while her husband John became a stay-at-home dad, caring for John David, his twin sister Charlotte and their 11-year old daughter, Audrey.

They were happy; life was good, but then, John-David’s health took a left turn.

“Recently, he became ill to the point that dialysis was going to be something that he would need,” said Dr. Malinski.

Dr. Christel Malinski found out she was a positive match to be her son’s donor, and without skipping a beat, made plans for the operation at the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.

That surgery, happening just days ago on Nov. 17.

“I feel like I was born to be his mother, so that I could give him his kidney,” said Dr. Malinski.

Now, John David is recovering in the ICU, while his mom is staying across the street at the Hog’s House Family Center.

The Malinski’s say this surgery will change their family’s lives for the better and hope others will consider organ donation in the future.

“If more people donated their kidneys, we could completely eliminate the transplant list. What it did for him, the way it changed his life, it’s worth it,” said Dr. Malinski.

When it comes to John David’s Down syndrome, she wants people to know it’s not a burden; it’s a gift.

“Children with Down syndrome just have this way of bringing joy to other people. I think everyone needs to know someone in their life with Down Syndrome because it will absolutely enrich your life,” said Dr. Malinski.

The Malinski’s say John David is recovering well and are hoping to all be home in time for Thanksgiving.