Girl who received six organ transplant returns to school

10:41 PM, Apr 8, 2012   |    comments
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HOLLIS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's been a little more than two months since a 9-year old Hollis girl returned home to Maine after undergoing a groundbreaking multi-organ transplant.

Doctors gave Alannah Shevenell a 50/50 chance of surviving the surgery that replaced her stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver, small bowel and a portion of her esophagus.

This week she reached another milestone.

Most families wouldn't think twice about getting their child ready for school. But for Debi and Jaime Skolas, it was something they only dared to dream about.

Those dreams came true this week when Alannah Shevenell went to school for the first time in almost five years.

Last October, the 9-year-old went under the knife for fourteen hours at Children's Hospital in Boston. A team of doctors removed a rare and fast growing tumor and replaced six organs that were caught in it's tentacles. Her stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver, small bowel and part of her esophagus. It was the first known esophageal transplant in the world and the largest number of organs transplanted at one time in New England.

We are into our six month post transplant and we haven't had any rejection issues every day is better than the day before, said Debi Skolas, Alannah's Grandmother.

So much better, a little more than two months since returning home, Alannah is slowly weaning off some of the more than six dozen medications she takes on a daily basis. She also started having playdates with other kids so returning to the classroom was an important next step.

Alannah has spent nearly half of her life in and out of the hospital in fact the last time she was in school was back in the first grade and it was only a few months. But earlier this week on her first day she volunteered in class and is on her way to making new friends.

The 9-year old's groundbreaking transplant has garnered world wide attention. Her grandparents hope Alannah's story will inspire others to make what they call a 'courageous' decision to donate a loved one's organs.

'You make a choice to save someone you don't even know, they gave us back something, they gave us a chance and gave us an opportunity to have a lot more years with Alannah.' said Skolas. And give Alannah a fighting chance to be a kid for what seems like the first time.

NEWS CENTER

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