Alannah Shevenell may only be nine years old, but the little girl from Maine is home after having six organ transplants. This brave kid is back living with her grandparents after having a new stomach, liver, spleen, small intestine, pancreas, and part of an esophagus replaced because of a suffocating tumor.
Alannah was diagnosed with a tumor in her abdomen at five years old after running high fevers and rapidly losing weight. Doctors attempted to remove the tumor twice but it kept spreading, and chemotherapy didn’t help either. As organs kept getting consumed by the tumor, Alannah and her grandparents waited for a year on various organ lists. The Washington Post reports that doctors told the family that there was only 50% chance that Alannah would survive the procedure, but there were clearly no other alternatives.
After surgery, she spent more than three months in the hospital recovering. But this superhero of a kid pulled through, despite now having to take nine medications sometimes several times a day. She now has a “roadmap” of scars on her body and a feeding tube as she gets adjusted to eating, among other things:
Her immune system is so weak that she can’t go to places with large numbers of other people, such as school, church or a mall. She can’t eat raw vegetables or fruits unless they have thick skins because of concerns over germs, and she’ll never be able to swim in a lake because of the bacteria. The Skolases installed ultraviolet lights in their heating ducts to kill mold, mildew and bacteria that might sicken Alannah.
This strong girl is reportedly enjoying being home and plans to go sledding aand make snowmen. Culturally, we often underestimate the strength of girls and their capacity to really stick it out in times of crisis. Yet this brave young lady has not only has endured a reportedly “groundbreaking” surgery with months of recovery with remarkably high spirits. She also, at the end of the day, she still has enough energy to go outside and play.