February 20, 2021

Journey to kidney transplant surgery a long one for Niagara teen

Journey to kidney transplant surgery a long one for Niagara teen


For 14-year-old Abbi Monaghan, her next visit to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, this time for kidney transplant surgery, could make a huge difference in her life.

Knowing this, co-workers of her mom Katie set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help offset the extended-stay costs after her upcoming surgery.

Abbi, a Denis Morris student, was diagnosed at 18-months with Cystinosis, a rare, incurable metabolic disease that slowly destroys the kidneys, liver and other organs in the body.

While the progression has been slow, according to her mom Katie, in recent years, Abbi’s kidney function has begun to deteriorate to a point where it is now only 13 per cent.

“Five years ago, she was at 30 per cent.

“It’s hard to project where she’ll be,” said mom Katie.

Fourteen-year-old Abbi Monaghan diagnosed with Cystinosis is awaiting a kidney transplant. Family Photo

“She’s in N stage failure, but it’s still considered pre-emptive, as she doesn’t have all the symptoms.

“We don’t want to wait for the worst-case scenario,” she added.

Katie said a new kidney will help improve Abbi’s quality of life. “She will have energy that she never knew she had.”

Mom and Abbi are now getting ready for a transplant after a donor came forward.

“We’ve been on this journey for a transplant for a long time,” said Katie.

“She is done with all of her pre-op appointments, and she is ready to go.”

In December, someone who is also O-positive came forward with the offer of the kidney.

Now the family is just waiting for the call from the staff at Sick Kids, hopefully in March, after one more surgery in preparation for the transplant.

The family has been told to expect a stay of between three to six months near the hospital.

Katie’s friends and co-workers at Pathstone Mental Health came forward to help the family, raising money, selling sunglasses (Abbi needs to wear them because of sensitivity to light).

But they knew they needed to do more, so they launched the GoFundMe page.

“At Pathstone, we work super closely; they reached out and asked,” said Katie. “At first, I was a little I can do this, but then I felt like it was a huge weight lifted.

“Even after having to deal with Cystinosis for the past years I didn’t realize it was such a long recovery and that we have to be in Toronto.”

Katie said that Covid-19 has thrown a wrench into all of it.

The family has used Ronald McDonald House in the past, but now there is a stringent quarantine requirement.



Just over a week in, the fund is nearing its goal, sitting at nearly 75 per cent of the $16,000 target by early Saturday.

“It’s been well over a week, the support that people have shown has been amazing,” said Tara Kelly, who helped set up the page.

“We knew you don’t always reach it, but whatever we got would be helpful.”

Those wishing to help can visit https://gofund.me/7347be69.


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