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Friday, August 12, 2016

The "Friends For Life" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Thinking back to perhaps a year ago when this beautiful young sweetheart named Kennedy came into the life of Carol and myself.  The girl with the curly hair and "Why" to everything has stolen our hearts.  
My granddaughter Courtney had
a chance to meet Kennedy.
I have written about her quite a few times, but she is a truly a walking and talking wonder and miracle of modern medicine.  My latest post a short time ago described Kennedy and her family's trip to Disney World through the generous gift of the "Make-A-Wish" foundation.  Today's post is to tell you that Kennedy was featured on the cover of Pediatric INSIGHTS, a physician resource from Children's hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and she will also be named poster child for the Living Donor Recipents in the near future.  The 2016 Pediatric INSIGHTS magazine features a photo of Kennedy on the cover with a blue ribbon in her curly hair, wearing a jeans jacket and sporting her bright red glasses.  The three-page story is titled Friends for Life and tells of the two families who connect to treat a rare disease with a successful living-donor liver transplant.  Story tells how, when Kennedy was 8 months old, she had a seizure which prompted Kennedy's mother, Donya, to take her to the nearby Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster, PA.  
Cover of Pediatric INSIGHTS
They met Dr. Kevin Strauss who finally recommended a liver transplant.  Donya posted on her "Facebook" page … "Okay friends … here it is … the request of a lifetime.  Is there anyone willing to donate 25 percent of their liver to save Kennedy's life?  Trust me, I know its's a lot to ask, I can't even believe I'm posting this, but as a mother, I have to exhaust every option possible".  Soon, a message from a high school classmate, Mike Thompson, from Bethlehem Catholic was posted.  He wanted to help Kennedy!  He wrote: "I'm a firefighter, so I help people every day, but to help somebody like this is just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  It's just the right thing to do."  All tests showed Mike and Kennedy were compatible and the eight hour surgery to remove 25% of Mike's liver and rush it across town to Children's Hospital to Kennedy was a success.  Kennedy improved immediately, astounding the doctors.  That was over a year ago and Kennedy recently went back to the hospital to have the muscles in her chest sewed back together.  Originally they were left apart in case she would have needed more surgery to the liver.  The latest surgery was to keep her in the hospital for a month, with a special staff assembled to combat the pain she would experience.  But, she was up, swinging a hockey stick with her step-dad Josh the second day after surgery.  Went home six days after the operation amazing the doctors once again.  She has been to visit us and you wound never know this child had gone through major surgery a few weeks ago.  She is as sassy as ever!  The article reports that Kennedy's prognosis is good and explains that living-donor transplant increases the number of organs available.  It's a real solution to a real problem.  Kenndey is the living result of this statement.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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