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(Story originally published in The Kindersley Clarion.)

Christmas is coming, and five-year-old Kinley Hildebrandt and her parents, Candis and Justin, and big brother Cohen would love nothing more than to receive a call saying a liver donor has been found for Kinley.

It’s been four weeks since Kinley was placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant; it’s a much different list than most kids talk about at Christmas.

“There are no other kids her size and blood type that are waiting,” Candis said, and explained further. “An adult can give up to seventy percent of their liver, and Kinley would only require forty percent. The liver actually grows back in three months time.”

“It was a little shocking to find out she was to have a transplant because she looks so healthy. But her spleen is so enlarged that it eats her platelets. Because her platelets are so low, she can’t skate or play soccer, ball or anything where she could fall,” her mom said. “She’s understanding because we’ve explained why she can’t do these things. She also has a low immune system right now, and we need to keep her healthy. If we get a call she can’t have a cold or the flu. But her teacher has been so excellent, letting us know if anyone is sick and having the children do extra hand washing.”

In the meantime the Hildebrandt family wait and pray for a phone call, and plan to visit relatives in Alberta for Christmas. “When we go out of town we have to contact the transplant coordinator because if we get a call we have to go to the closest airport.” Candis said. “Even when we go to our son’s hockey games out of town, we have to let them know. If I go out of town, Kinley goes with me.” Fortunately, Kinley loves watching her big brother play hockey.

Kinley Hildebrandt – Image submitted by Candis Hildebrandt

When they do get the call, the operation will take between 8-12 hours, and Kinley’s parents will need to stay in Edmonton for three months. There will be many expenses for the family, but they are blessed by the support of the community, family and friends.

Kinley has a facebook page, where her mom shares Kinley’s journey and provides awareness of early prevention. “Both my husband and I don’t have family close by, so it helps keep family informed.”

“We just had an online auction to raise money for the time we need to spend in Edmonton. We had about one hundred items, and items kept coming in until the day the auction finished.” Candis said.

The community in Kindersley donated some items, as well as family and friends outside the community. “I contacted a few people, and my friends graciously took over and it just grew.”

The Hildebrandt family is truly grateful. “We don’t even have words for how much it means to us. It takes a huge weight off our shoulders. We are so grateful for everyone who took part. It’s just so amazing!” Candis said, with much emotion and sincerity.

Kinley’s mom submitted a photo of her daughter. The words printed on the front of the little girl’s shirt speak volumes: “Some of the most heroic are the ones who, without needing words teach the world what it is to love and fight.”

The community in Kindersley is praying for you, Kinley, and we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and an awesome New Year!

Feature Image: Submitted by Candis Hildebrandt

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Joan Janzen
Joan Janzen resides in Kindersley where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, working as a graphic artist, reading, and of course writing. She likes to compare her column 'Check It Out' to crafting a cake. Sweetness of humor and buttery flavor combine with otherwise hard to swallow zucchini-like information, resulting in a flavorful and fulfilling sensation.