Kendall and Ava are not related by blood. They do, however, have one amazing thing in common- something that saved their lives and defeated autoimmune hepatitis. Keep reading, or follow the original story, to learn about their connection.
Kendall Haverty is 17 years old. Ava Danhoff is a baby of 11 months. The only thing they shared was a desperate need for a new liver. Both of them suffered painful symptoms and faced life threatening illness.
Kendall battled autoimmune hepatitis since the age of 11. To learn more about autoimmune hepatitis, click here.
At first, medication was enough to keep the disease at bay. By the time she was 13, doctors found that she also suffered from primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). This serious bile duct disease caused her skin and eyes to turn yellow. Even worse, it caused intense joint pain, an array of stomach problems, and swelling of the spleen. To learn more about PSC, click here.
Ava wasn’t any better off. She had become weak. It was impossible for her to even hold her own head up. Doctors told her parents that without a new liver, Ava would die.
August third was a changing point for both of them. The families of both Ava and Kendall were notified that a liver had become available. Since Ava was still a baby, doctors determined she would only need about 30% of the liver. The other 70% could be used to treat Kendall.
Finding organs for transplant is difficult to begin with. The number of patients with needs greatly outweighs the number of available organs. On top of that, finding an organ that is a match for a patient, let alone two different patients, is it’s own set of improbabilities. Ava and Kendall’s situations was incredible and unique.
Between Kendall and Ava, 12 hours were spent in surgery. That may sound like a lot, but it has caused a lifetime of change. Things turned around for both of them almost immediately after the procedure.
Kendall’s eyes had become white again after she woke up from surgery. She says she’s “pretty much back to normal,” and is feeling optimistic about the future. Kendall hopes to go on to college and specialize in phlebotomy.
Ava also improved dramatically. She now crawls, walks, and eats, just like a healthy child of her age. Ava’s parents are amazed at the changes. They say no one would veer be able to tell what Ava has been through looking at her now.
Kendall and Ava met each other three days after their surgeries.
Though they have no genetic relation they consider each other sisters now. Liver sisters.
Their families talk regularly. They even schedule their follow up appointments around each other so they can be there to support one another. They share a new and unbreakable bond: a sisterhood made to last the full lifetime they both now have ahead of them.