BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (January 9, 2016) — January is a month full of celebration and joy for the Copley family of Spokane, Washington. Sixteen years ago on January 14, the family’s first girl, Anna, was born. Anna will turn 16 this year thanks to the help of a life-saving kidney transplant and a Bloomington-based organization.
Anna Copley was born to parents, John and Rebecca. They already had three boys at home (Andrew then age 7, Matthew then age 5 and Luke then 18 months old), so Anna’s arrival was another perfect chapter in this family’s story.
According to Rebecca, Anna’s birth was very normal and her birth weight was just over eight pounds. However, within her first day of life there were red flags because Anna was not nursing well and she seemed very limp.
At three weeks old, Anna contracted respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and was admitted to the ICU. During her three-week hospital stay, her kidneys failed and she required several blood transfusions. But after a couple of weeks, her kidneys started working again.
Everything changed in September 2009 when Anna entered fourth grade. Her kidneys began to fail, and she was diagnosed with beginning stage 4 chronic kidney failure. She was put on a kidney diet and prescribed medications to slow the disease’s progression.
By the fall of Anna’s eighth grade year her condition worsened, and on February 6, 2014, Anna was placed on dialysis. The transplant team at Seattle Children’s Hospital started working to plan Anna’s life-saving kidney transplant.
Fortunately, Anna’s oldest brother, Andrew, turned out to be a match, but that meant John and Rebecca had to start thinking about the mounting expenses the family would encounter due to Anna’s transplant and Andrew’s donation. It was at this time when the staff at Seattle Children’s recommended the family research Bloomington -based Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA).
In early May 2014, a COTA representative traveled to Spokane. Within months, COTA helped the family more than $50,000 for transplant-related expenses.
On December 3, 2014, Anna received her life-saving kidney from Andrew. Anna did very well immediately post-transplant, and she was released from the hospital on December 20.
According to John and Rebecca, “COTA has given us tremendous hope for Anna’s future. We know Anna will have ongoing medical expenses throughout her life, and we also know she will likely need another transplant at some point in the future. Anna will always need to take expensive medications. Since COTA funds are available for Anna’s lifetime, we feel confident she can move into adulthood and face whatever medical challenges that come her way.”
“We are continually blown away by what our oldest son did for his little sister. Andrew told us from the time she was diagnosed at the age of 9 that he would give her a kidney when she needed it. He was in high school at the time. When she needed a kidney, Andrew was age 21 and he was indeed a match,” Rebecca said.
Today, Anna is doing well, and thanks to COTA and her brother’s donation she will turn 16 on January 14.