While most girls her age were peacefully asleep, 8-year-old Kyree Beachem was wheeled early Wednesday into an operating room for a triple transplant that lasted more than 12 hours.
“She had Hirschsprung’s disease from birth,” says Kyree’s mother, Nan Beachem.
Hirschsprung’s disease occurs in newborns when nerves cells are missing in the muscle of the colon. Consequently, Hirschsprung affects the large intestines.
This is not Kyree’s first transplant. In January 2010, the Pennsylvania youth received an isolated small bowel transplant; however, 10 days later her body rejected it.
“Three months later, she was relisted for small bowel transplant but as time went on, and her liver had increased damage, she then needed multiple organ transplant,” explains Beachem.
With Kyree’s worsening condition, a donor was found and Kyree was quickly taken into surgery early Wednesday morning. She has waited for a donor for five years.
At 2 a.m., Kyree went into the operating room at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UMPC. “She is out of surgery and headed to PICU soon,” her mother said mid-afternoon.
Kyree received a pancreas, liver and small bowel. According to Rick Lofgren, the president of of Children’s Organ Transplant Association, multi-organ transplants are rare and Kyree’s combination of transplants is even rarer.
Lofgren told CNN: “That type of transplant is very rare. Most transplants are going to be a single kidney, a heart, a lung maybe a liver transplant…To get the combination of the liver, the small bowel and the pancreas, that is even more rare.”
The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg’s has performed more pediatric transplants then any other center in the nation. According to their pediatric statistics, the facility completed 107 pediatric transplants in 2014.
Some are calling Kyree’s triple transplant a “miracle.”
“Every time we get the notice that someone has been transplanted…it’s like getting on top of the world. It’s just incredible acceleration to know that now that child is going to have a long life,” said Lofgren.