Midlands girl finally receives needed transplant

Midlands girl finally receives needed transplant
Emmy Reeves, 13, is diabetic and allergic to insulin. In February, she received the pancreatic transplant she desperately needed.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Being the parent of a sick child is never easy, especially when your child is allergic to the only thing that is supposed to keep her alive.

Emmy Reeves lives with Type 1 diabetes and while most Type 1 diabetics use insulin to control the symptoms, that is not a possibility for Emmy Reeves.

After finding a match for a pancreas, her family took a chance on a rare procedure in the effort to keep Emmy alive.

Emmy was approved for a pediatric pancreas transplant, which is a rare procedure where only a couple of places in the United States would be willing to attempt it.

One Minneapolis doctor from the Masonic Children's Hospital was willing to do the surgery.

The procedure is so rare that the doctor had only done four in his lifetime.

In February 2018, a team of eight doctors and residents performed the five-hour transplant surgery

After the procedure, Emmy's mom says Emmy was doing well until her body began to reject the pancreas.

The Reeves family said that it was "a long road for Emmy." The reactions to the rejection were painful as they had to supplement her recovery with a little bit of insulin.

"We tried to get her back on some insulin but she didn't do too well on that since we had her off of it for so long," Tiffanie Reeves, Emmy's mom, said.

They say her insulin allergy made the pain so unbearable that she couldn't even be touched.

Through trial and error, however, doctors found the right immunosuppression to have her body stop rejecting the pancreas and now her mom say's she's going strong.

"It's giving her a normal quality of life. It's giving her a long life. I can hug my kid again," Tiffanie said. "I actually left her alone for a little bit and I didn't worry, for once, which was a normal thing. 13-year-old's should be able to be alone for a little bit."

Emmy goes back to her doctors in Minneapolis every three months for check-ups, and she'll have to do this for the next three to five years

The Children's organ transplant association estimated Emmy's transplant and treatments to be about $75,000 out of pocket.
If you'd like to donate to Emmy's medical costs, you can donate here.