When their newborn daughter Kennedy arrived, the McCoys fell in love at first sight. She was their only child, and the three of them had been blissfully married for eight months before Kennedy had an unexpected seizure. Kennedy’s health became a concern for the McCoys, who took her to the doctor. They discovered Kennedy had S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase deficiency, a rare metabolic disorder that has only been diagnosed in 8 other people. This lowered her amino acid levels and resulted in a toxic buildup in her body. They were afraid she wouldn’t make it, but they hoped medical professionals could help.
The McCoys enlisted the assistance of Dr. S. Harvey Mudd, a world-renowned scientist. He advised a dietary change, but that additional treatment would be required. Dr. Mudd died about a year into Kennedy’s treatment, but Dr. Kevin Strauss took over and decided that a liver transplant was the best way to help Kennedy. Kennedy may be one step closer to living a normal life after years of doctor’s appointments and therapy.
Liver transplants are extremely difficult to obtain, particularly for a rare disorder. And, because Kennedy’s disease was most likely inherited, neither of her parents (or relatives) were able to donate. Donya McCoy was still optimistic about Kennedy and decided to take matters into her own hands. She used Facebook to make a public appeal for her daughter. Soon after her plea, a high school classmate sent her a message, saying that his blood type was a match with Kennedy’s, and the two continued the conversation from there.
After going back and forth for a while (with their messaging), Michael Thompson decided to donate 25% of his liver to the daughter of someone he barely knew in high school. Now Kennedy has a functioning liver and is staying at the hospital for a few months to recover.
Wow. Thompson’s generosity is an amazing story of selflessness and giving. Of his donation, Michael said it was “one of the greatest things I will probably do in my life, to give more life to another human.”