A 3-year-old girl from Norman got a special Christmas gift this year: the gift of life.
And it was given to her by somebody who didn't even know her.
Abby and her big sister, Emma, goof around like any other kids, singing made-up songs by the Christmas tree. You wouldn’t know it, but just a few days ago, Abby had a kidney transplant. She was diagnosed with end-stage chronic kidney disease right after her 2nd birthday.
“We all immediately started trying to get tested for ourselves to give her a kidney. Family. My mom did. I did. My brother and my nephew all tried. My sister already donated her kidney, so she couldn’t.” Abby’s mother, Jennifer Baxter said. “We took to Facebook to try to get support and people to try to donate.”
But no one was a match, at least not initially.
Then came a Christmas miracle. A customer at the veterinarian hospital where Abby’s aunt works saw a donation jar to help the family with expenses. And instead of donating money, the customer donated a kidney.
“And she just felt a strong yearning to donate to Abby,” Baxter said.
Kidney disease runs in the Baxter's family.
Nine-year old Emma had a transplant three years ago, so she knows what her baby sister is going through.
“And I was pregnant with her when she had her kidney transplant, so I turn around, had a baby and, within two years, she’s on the list. So we haven’t had a break.” Baxter said. “It was relief, and then immediate devastation. I just thought my life is over at this point because I barely made it through that one. Now I have to make it through another one, not only financially but emotionally. How am I going to do this again?”
But the family made it.
The girls show off matching scars. Emma even named her new kidney.
“Tiger Lily. It reminded me of a lily.” Emma said, “I asked Santa Claus for a kidney for Abby.”
Santa came through, sparing Abby years of dialysis and pain and giving her a gift that can never be repaid.
“I’m just incredibly indebted to her. I would never be able to repay her. It’s the most amazing, most magnificent gift I could ever imagine getting from somebody. And I love her for that.”
Jennifer Baxter is a single mom working on a teacher’s salary, so if you can help her with medical expenses she’d sure appreciate it.