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One sister receives double organ transplant, other still on waiting list

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CRYSTAL CITY, MO (KTVI)-- We first introduced you to the Derque family of Crystal City about a year and a half ago. At that time, 7-year old Kate Derque and her 12-year old sister, Abbi both needed double organ transplants. A genetic disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease was destroying their kidneys and liver. Kate was getting dialysis three times a week. Abbie was getting monthly checkups. Abbi had had a recent scare with bleeding in the liver. Both were on the waiting list for a transplant.

Middle child, John, was healthy.  Their mother, Kim refused to feel sorry for herself or let her children feel sorry for themselves. She was determined that they not be defined by their disease.

Our followup report found a big change in the family's situation. In May of this year, Kate now 9, underwent a 10 hour surgery at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center to receive a new kidney and new liver. Things went well and Kate has had a good recovery.

But the family's wait is not over. Abbi is still waiting for a similar transplant. Kate was transplanted first because she was higher on the list. Abbi is doing pretty well right now, but the call could come at any time. She says waiting is the hard part. And right now, she can't really participate in sports and has to stay within three hours of the hospital in case that call comes. Both girls were anxious to start school.

Kim says it's hard to find words to express her gratitude to the donor family that gave Kate a new lease on life. She does not know the identity of the donor. Now, they take it one day at a time to wait for a transplant that will give Abbi a chance at a normal life.

This Sunday evening, August 25th Mid-America Transplant Services will hold its annual Candlelight Memorial Ceremony. It's a chance for MTS donor families and recipients to come together and honor the gift of life. Along with other recipients, Kate will be handing out roses to donor families at the event. It will be held at Donor Memorial Monument and Park. That's 1110 Highlands Plaza Drive East. (In the area where the old Arena was located) The public is invited to share in the event.

For more information you can visit the MTS website at www.mts-stl.org

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