WEIRTON, W.Va. (KDKA) — Thanks to a West Virginia father’s sacrifice, his daughter is a happy, healthy, playful little girl, just in time for Father’s Day.
Five-year-old Mia Orecchio kicks a soccer ball around with her dad and two brothers, in their backyard in Weirton, West Virginia. Mark Orecchio has decided to turn his personal Father’s Day into a three-day weekend.
One year ago, three days before Father’s Day 2016, Mia’s dad gave her a special gift. A gift that saved her life. The happy girl we see today was near death with severe kidney disease.
“Mia had polycystic kidney disease,” her father recalls. “So she had cysts developing in her kidneys, and it was enlarging her kidneys to where her belly was extending. And it was making it uncomfortable for her to do anything.”
Her father proved to be a match. After a father-daughter visit to Disney World, Dr. Lorenzo Machado removed Mark’s kidney at Allegheny General Hospital, to be transplanted into little Mia at Children’s Hospital.
“It always touches me when family members come forward, and they’re willing to put themselves at the risk of undergoing a surgery to help their loved ones,” Dr. Machado says.
The father saw his daughter three days after surgery, on Father’s Day.
“I asked the doctor if she got a personality change too! It was amazing!”
Now five years old, Mia’s memories of difficult times are fleeting. The good days are back.
“Every day is probably going to be Father’s Day for her,” Dr. Machado says.
You won’t get any argument from Daddy’s little girl.
“I have the best daddy in the whole world!”