PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Her rare surgery captured world-wide attention and she captured the hearts of people all over the region.
Kyree Beachem of Ellwood City is currently battling organ rejection, years after her multiple organ transplant.
This Valentine’s Day, the 12-year-old girl has a simple request.
Kyree’s surgery was rare and complicated. She’s been in and out of the hospital countless times for years. She went into organ rejection shortly before Christmas. When we heard this inspiring young girl was asking for Valentine’s, KDKA’s Pam Surano went to see her at home and Children’s Hospital.
When KDKA visited, Kyree was making bracelets on her bed on the transplant floor of UPMC Children’s Hospital, where she is called the “mayor” of 7B.
“Kind of caught everybody off guard. Nobody saw it coming. She had been doing so extremely well,” said Nan Beachem, Kyree’s mom.
Kyree was born with Hirschsprung Disease, nerve cells missing in her colon. She received a new liver, pancreas, small and large intestines. Now four years after those major transplant operations, Kyree’s body has gone into severe organ rejection.
Kyree’s surgeon explains the challenge of her transplants and how Pittsburgh Children’s is a leader in the rare operation worldwide.
“In less than 150 patients and less than 100 children each year get a chance to benefit from intestinal transplant,” says Children’s Hospital Chief Pediatric Transplantation Dr. George Mazariegos.
Kyree’s journey is followed by tens of thousands on the “Kyree’s Dream Team” Facebook Page.
She’s lost about two years of recovery in the last month.
Kyree’s care is intense. She’s in and out of the hospital right now multiple times per week for blood draws, scopes and biopsies.
Her care at home is also intense. She takes 28 different medications. Her mom, a single parent of eight, takes cares of her.
“She is probably the best mom I could ever have,” says Kyree.
“You cry in the shower, you cry in the car when you’re by yourself, and you stay strong,” says Nan.
Kyree’s favorite place is at home, but as much as she loves it here, there is somewhere this preteen would rather be.
“It’s hard to be without my friends sometimes, it’s really hard to stay without my friends,” she says. “I miss them, really much. It’s really hard. “
Since she can’t be in school as she battles organ rejection, she would really like to receive Valentine’s, in the mail.
“I would really like if people would send me cards, some pictures of their animals if they can. I’m actually really obsessed with animals like dogs, cats, bunnies.”
Kyree’s teacher at Hartman Elementary started the “Kind is the New Cool Club”. The students at Hartman have Kyree on their hearts right now.
Her doctor says sometimes re-transplantation is the only recourse that can’t be done without organ donation.
It’s why Kyree is alive today.
Right now, though her doctors feel confident they can get this latest round of rejection under control with her immune system, nutritional support and medicine.
While Kyree’s big heart and little body continue the battle, if you want to send her a Valentine’s card you can send it to:
Kyree’s Dream Team
PO Box 490
Ellwood City, PA 16117
Stay with KDKA for Pam Surano’s full report at 5 p.m.