Watch CBSN Live

Woman Makes New Life After "Miracle" Transplant

Kristin Molini had prepared herself to die.

The 22-year-old was diagnosed with a rare medical condition, intestinal dysmotility, a disease that paralyzed her digestive organs and left her jaundiced and extremely frail.

She reached a point where she weighed only 74 pounds and was living off IV nutrition and pain killers.

"That was my life," she said. " ... I was almost ready, knowing that I was gonna go."

To survive, Kristin would need a new liver, pancreas, stomach, and small and large intestines.

Kristin registered on transplant lists at two hospitals, but nearly three years later, without a donor, her prognosis was grim.

Gregory Molini, Kristin's father said, "I thought we were losing her. And literally we had to just -- I walked up and out of the room and (cried) and thought about that."

Then, Kristin says, "A miracle happened."

One year ago Tuesday, she received a call from New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia. They had finally found a donor match for all five organs.

Cinzia Molini, Kristin's mother, said, "I jumped up and my husband is like, 'What are you screaming for?' I'm like, 'They have the organs, they have the organs!"

The Molinis rushed to the hospital and within hours Kristin was in surgery.

Kristin said, "The hardest part for me was when I was rolling away. It was just the fear that that was going to be the last time that I was going see my family."

Gregory Paul Molini, Kristin's brother, said with tears in his eyes, "It hits you very hard. It's very sad, because you know someone's life, your own's life is on the line."

Thirteen hours later, the lead doctor emerged from surgery with news for the family.

Gregory Paul said, "When he came out to us after surgery to tell us everything went well and she's doing well, that was a really good feeling you know, really good."

On "The Early Show," Krisitin said that, before she received the transplants "there was not much life."

"I was in pain constantly and I was on IV nutrition," she said. "And I was basically surviving off of that I.V. bag, and my liver was just going. It was just a matter of time."

Cinzia said her daughter's survival is a "true miracle."

Gregory Molini, Kristin's father, told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith the rare disease was a rare operation for doctors.
"There were only 300 performed," he said. "There are odds, but it was a lot of prayers, and here we are today."

Cinzia said she's proud to see Kristin go up the stairs by herself.

"Doing things on her own is tremendous," she said.

Kristin said she's excited to go back to school this fall.

Kristin also recently celebrated her "rebirthday."

She explained, "Every transplant patient has two birthdays, so on April 30, we did it. It was a really big celebration. It was a nice blowout. It was a great turnout."

The celebration was also held on the 25th wedding anniversary of Kristin's parents. As a surprise, Kristin held a vow renewal service for her parents.

"It was a surprise," Gregory said, and added that Cinzia said "yes" to his marriage proposal.

The Molinis are now proponents of organ donation. Kristin received her organs from a child who died after a traumatic injury in Mississippi.

Kristin says she lives for two people now.

"I live for me and him every day," she said. "And they gave me a second chance."

The Molinis hope more people will sign up to become an organ donor on their driver's license.

"In the state of New York, only 11 percent is actually signed up, which falls second to last," Gregory said. "We need to really, really get a hold. It is an emergency. And we've been to hospitals all over the country and we've watched children pass. And there's no reason for this. So we really need help."

For more information on Kristin's story, go to Survived

And for more information on organ donation, visit

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.