Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
MT. PLEASANT (KDKA) — Who would think a kidney would come from a dentist’s office? But that’s exactly what happened for 14-year-old Gabrielle Evans.
“It’s pretty amazing,” she says.
She was born with only one small, non-functioning kidney.
“From my first sonogram, I was told there was something wrong,” says her mother, Amy Hickson. “They more or less told me she would be stillborn. And she came out, and here we are! She was always in [kidney] failure, but to what degree.”
Finally the time came when the doctors said she needed a transplant.
“You always try to look real positive, but I remember in the waiting room just crying,” she recalls. “Sometimes you feel so alone, no one else understands.”
That’s when the office manager at Gabrielle’s dentist office stepped in. The family had been going there for years.
When she heard their story, she wanted to help. After getting her blood, kidney function, and overall fitness tested, she was a match.
“I was happy, I really was, and I think I cried maybe,” says donor Tammy Swift.
But some people weren’t happy or supportive.
“I had a woman say to me, ‘Why, when you have your own children, would you do that for someone else’s?’
“Well, because if it were me, and it was my child, I would pray someone would do that for them.”
The transplant was done November 7th in Pittsburgh. Aside from a transient drug reaction in Tammy, everyone has done just fine.
“The doctors called me a star,” remarks Gabrielle.
“I’m watching the two of them together, and she really loves my child,” says Amy. “Wow, this is unbelievable, and I would have never guessed that’s how it would have unfolded for me.”
It’s not where you would expect a kidney, but what started here for her teeth has resulted in a gift she will always smile about.