One-Year-Old Chickasaw Girl Waiting on Lifesaving Transplant

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One-Year-Old Chickasaw Girl Waiting on Lifesaving Transplant

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 23:55
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LifeShare raises awareness in honor of Donor Day

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OKLAHOMA CITY (February 11, 2021) —At just three pounds and 32 weeks gestation, Elaina Reynolds, the one-year-old daughter of Cody and Kellie Reynolds, came into the world full of life.

During Kellie’s pregnancy, doctors were concerned about complications and in what all felt like a blur, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and sent to OU Medical Center. Two days later, Kellie had an emergency C-section bringing their daughter Elaina into the world.

Two weeks later, her family was devastated to learn that their tiny infant had a confirmed diagnosis of Biliary Atresia – a condition in which the bile ducts in the liver are scarred and blocked. The disease leads to an accumulation of bile, damage of liver cells and cirrhosis. The only cure for their three-pound baby is a liver transplant.

“There is nothing that will humble you quicker than finding out your daughter is sick and needs a transplant,” Cody Reynolds said. “I don’t think you ever realize that it can happen to you in a split second.”

A few days after the diagnosis, Elaina underwent a surgery to help prolong the need for a liver transplant. She did well with the procedure, but months later dealt with infections which have led to several hospital stays and doctors’ visits.

In June of 2020, the Reynolds family met with a medical team for evaluation and testing for a transplant. Elaina needed to gain a little weight, and was given a feeding tube, IV fluids and specialized nutritional supplements to help her thrive.

Elaina maintains a happy disposition and embodies the warrior spirit the Chickasaw tribe is known for. Her family is looking forward to seeing her grow up and be successful – and most of all her family is ready for the day they get the call that will save her life.

Creating awareness about organ donation is a top priority for the Reynolds family. As a Chickasaw family, they believe their ancestors would want to honor others with the gift’s they can offer as they pass on.

“As an advocate for organ donation I would like to encourage everyone to put the little red heart on your license. It may be your family that needs that gift one day,” Kellie said.

With the current wait list at approximately 108,000 individuals from across the country and more than 60 percent of those representing racial and ethnic minorities, LifeShare is committed to raising awareness about the need for donors. In 2020, 214 Oklahomans gave the gift of life by becoming an organ donor, saving 508 lives. The need for transplant is growing, and there are still approximately 600 Oklahomans cur rently waiting on a lifesaving transplant.

In honor of National Donor Day, LifeShare encourages all Oklahomans to register as an organ, eye and tissue donors on and share your decision with your family.