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Sisters receive life-saving transplants

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CRYSTAL CITY, MO (KTVI)-- We have followed the Derque family of Crystal City through a remarkable medical journey. The latest development is a giant step toward a normal life for the family. Both daughters needing organ transplants have received them.

We first introduced you to the Derque family about 2 1/2 years 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 and had just gone on the waiting list for a transplant.  Abbi had been on the transplant list for 2 years and was getting monthly checkups. Abbi had had a recent scare with bleeding in the liver. 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. Kim told me if she could wave a magic wand and make everyone healthy she would. But that was not what they had been given and they would make the best of it.

We did a follow-up report last August concerning a big change in the family's situation. In May of 2013, 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 Abbi was still waiting for a similar transplant. Kate was transplanted first because she was higher on the list. At the time, Abbi told me she was excited for Kate but that all the waiting for the call to come was hard. She couldn`t really participate in sports and had to stay within three hours of the hospital in case that call would come.

Kim said it was 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. They would take it one day at a time to wait for a transplant that would also give Abbi a chance at a normal life.

That day was 10 months later in March of this year. The family received the call that organs were available for Abbi.  She also underwent a successful 10-hour surgery to implant a new liver and kidney.

She is doing well and so is Kate. They will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.
Kim tells me that faith and hope got them through all the struggles. They never gave up hope that the girls would get transplanted. She says it`s so exciting because the future looks so bright, that the world has opened up for all of them and it feels like life can finally begin.

Kate handed out roses to donor families at the Mid-America Transplant Services annual Candlelight Memorial Ceremony last August and Abbi can participate this year. Abbi tells me she hopes to be a transplant coordinator someday.

Websites For Transplant Information:

Mid-America Transplant Services  
Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center

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