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Toddler, Donor Remain Hospitalized After Liver Transplant For Rare Disease

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- On Monday morning at Children's Hospital, 3-year-old Kennedy Stevenson, who has a rare, life-threatening metabolic disease, didn't know she'd be receiving part of Michael Thompson's liver the following day.

The Bethlehem firefighter learned of her need through a Facebook plea by former high school classmate Donya McCoy, Kennedy's mother.

"She's doing as good as could be expected," her mother said Friday, three days after the surgery.

Donor Michael Thompson is recovering at Montefiore Hospital.

"His response was, 'Well, I told you everything would be fine,'" Donya said.

She says Kennedy is in a medically-induced coma at Children's.

"She will be having follow-up surgery on Sunday or Monday. They actually have not closed her abdomen yet. They needed to give her body a chance to heal a little bit more," her mother said.

Kennedy is one of only eight children in the world to ever be diagnosed with this syndrome. And she's the first to have this particular surgery to fight back.

Dr. George Mazariegos and a team of surgeons replaced Kennedy's liver with one quarter of Michael's.

"It will grow with her," the doctor said. "It will continue to adjust to her needs, and provide all of the liver function, and in this case, all the critical enzyme function that she was missing."

Donya and her family held it together during surgery, until they saw the doctors emerge with smiles on their faces.

"I broke down, knowing that if they were happy, everything was okay," she recalled.

The Lancaster County woman says her family has been heartened by the support of friends from home, and viewers in Pittsburgh.

"The messages of encouragement and all the kind words have just been so good for my soul," Donya said.

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