Girl with Cancer Receives Six-Organ Transplant
Alannah Shevenell needed surgery after diagnosis of rare form of cancer
A nine-year-old Maine girl is set to leave Boston’s Children’s Hospital Wednesday after receiving six-organ transplant which appears to have saved her from a rare form of cancer.
Alannah Shevenell will be released 98 days after she underwent surgery to replace her esophagus, liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas, and small intestine.
The Boston Globe reported on the family's harrowing experience awaiting a donor:
Still, a transplant meant waiting, and child donors, especially those with all six of the necessary intact organs, were few and far between. Alannah was able to garner a spot on the transplant waiting list because her cancer was considered “benign’’; it was not spreading to other parts of her body. But it was growing, enveloping the organs in her abdomen and moving up into her chest. Last fall, her health began to deteriorate. Skolas began to lose hope that her granddaughter would survive to receive a transplant.
Finally, on Oct. 27 , at 10:45 p.m., the hospital called. A donor had been identified. Alannah would receive new organs the next day.
“Our house was wild,’’ Skolas recalled, laughing. The family called friends, who filled up the house at midnight. They did an “organ dance,’’ jumping around and cheering, said Skolas. “Yay, we have organs!’’
She is not completely out of the woods; she must take medication to combat infection, and can only eat certain foods so that her body doesn’t reject them, according to the Globe.