Kari Karr, Eugene, Oregon
Cystic fibrosis, liver transplant
Kari Karr has been in and out of hospitals since she was 9-months-old. She has Cystic Fibrosis, a hereditary disease affecting the exocrine (mucous) glands of the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines, causing progressive disability due to multi-system failure.
“When I was in 8th grade, my liver had gotten so bad that doctors said I would need a liver transplant in order to make it past my high school graduation. My name went on the donor list, and within two weeks, I received a donor liver from a 4-year-old boy in California who lost his life in a car accident,” Kari said.
After receiving her new liver, Kari had to deal with many side effects, including her body's rejection of the new organ. She spent a lot of time in the hospital receiving treatments and fighting for her life.
“At one point, my surgeon came into my room and told my family and me that there just wasn’t anything else they could do. The side effects of the liver rejection were taking over,” she said.
After hearing this devastating news, Kari visited with her youth pastor and his wife. Within days of the visit, the surgeon came to visit the Karr family with the astonishing news that by an absolute miracle, Kari was getting better. He could not explain it, but her strong faith could.
Kari’s struggles are not over. She has since been treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center for a lung infection, but she is a strong, vibrant and loving person, and is moving forward with her life.
In 2008, Kari was granted a wish from the Make a Wish Foundation. She originally tried to give the wish to the family of the 4-year-old boy who donated his liver. Unable to reach them, she instead focused on her dream of working in the fashion industry. She spent four days in New York City, working with a celebrity fashion designer.
What an amazing future she has ahead of her!