Kiki

Kiki desperately needed a liver transplant. A teenager’s generous final wishes saved her life.

When Sally picked up her then three-year-old granddaughter, Kiki, from daycare, she noticed the whites of Kiki’s eyes had a yellow tinge. Her local doctor reassured her the problem would likely clear up on its own. It didn’t.

Within days, Kiki was in severe liver failure and her family turned to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta -- known for its outstanding liver transplantation program -- for help. If a donor liver couldn’t be found and transplanted into Kiki within 72 hours, she would die. “All I could do was sit and pray,” says Sally. “So that’s exactly what I did.”

The next morning, doctors told Sally a healthy new liver had become available. “We were so sad that someone else died, but profoundly grateful that that person chose to become a donor. That person’s choice to become an organ donor meant that a part of him could live on through Kiki.”

After the five-hour transplant surgery, Kiki began the long recovery process. “Everyone at Children’s felt like family,” Sally says. “They were 100 percent there for us. If they could do something for us, they would. If not, they’d find someone who could.”

Today, you’ll find a healthy Kiki enjoying the new house she and Sally recently helped build. “We helped dig the foundation, pound the nails and paint the walls,” Sally says proudly of the house their church donated to the family. “We have so many blessings in our lives. We just keep living one day at a time, and we’re happy.”