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From Kidney Transplant to Kindergarten

July 07, 2019

Brinlee is an energetic little girl from Kirby, Arkansas. She loves to play outside with her dogs, Molly and Bella, and tend to the cows with her parents. Just a typical little girl growing up on a farm. Except Brinlee is anything but typical.

When she was born, Brinlee had one kidney that didn’t form, leaving her with only one working kidney. On a routine MRI, the pediatric nephrologists at Arkansas Children’s found a mass in her remaining kidney. Although the mass was benign, Brinlee's doctors diagnosed her with end-stage renal failure. They determined the safest option was to remove her kidney and start dialysis at home.

"Our lives revolved around a dialysis machine. Your life is mapped out for you, but it saved her life every day," says Brinlee’s mom Traci.
After 21 months on dialysis, Brinlee was placed on the organ donor transplant list. Her family received the call only 12 days after being listed. "We received the phone call from the transplant coordinator, and I was silent, "Traci said. "It seemed like a miracle. Surgery was scary, but the team did a great job explaining to us the process and how it would go. We met the surgeon before surgery, and it was comforting knowing who was going to be with your baby."
Just three months after her transplant, Brinlee was a completely different child. "Before the transplant, she didn’t have much energy and looked so frail. Now she’s so healthy, active, growing and thriving, "Traci said. And this girl loves to eat! With very few food restrictions now, her favorites include all dairy foods, potatoes and chocolate.
She enjoys playing outside, taking bubble baths and staying up late -- things she couldn’t do before her surgery. And Brinlee hit another milestone just last year: She started kindergarten.

» Read more about our nationally ranked Nephrology Department

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