Hope's gift of life: Gainesville teen waits on transplant list

An emotional phone call came a day too late for Hope Kienle.

Hope, a 14-year-old at North Hall Middle School, has been on a pre-transplant waiting list for months. She’s set for a multivisceral operation that will give her a new liver, stomach, colon, pancreas and small bowel.

On a Tuesday in January, a call came in to Hope’s mother Amy Kienle about a potential donor match.

But the day before, Hope had been diagnosed with pneumonia, meaning they would have to decline the match.

“That one call changes your life,” she said. “This is the year that my life is going to be on hold.”

At 64 days old, Hope was diagnosed with biliary atresia and portal hypertension in 2003. The liver creates bile, a liquid that breaks down fats and carries waste through the rest of the body for excretion.

Amy Kienle, who is CEO of the Georgia Mountains YMCA, said Hope seemed fine at birth before she was examined at a baby wellness checkup. Hope underwent a liver transplant the next year. Continue reading
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