Adopted niece becomes match for aunt’s liver transplant

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HINTON, IA (KTIV) – In December of 2018, an adopted niece became the perfect match for her aunt’s liver transplant.

Before Julie’s transplant, she and niece Katie always had a close bond.

Now the two family members share an even closer connection following a transplant that saved Julie’s life.

“She always was the one to call. If you couldn’t talk to your mom you talk to Aunt Julie,” says Katie Canoles, Julie’s Niece.

“She finds the best in everybody and everything–she’s my angel on earth.,” says Julie Peiffer, Katie’s Aunt

In the spring of last year, Julie was told she was going to need a liver transplant.

“I got Hep C and then that went to cirrhosis of the liver I got it from blood transfusions having kids. Then I went to have the Harvoni treatment which cured the Hep. C but the damage was already done to the liver.” says Peiffer.

Julie became diagnosed with liver cancer, putting her on the liver transplant list.

“Different members of the family decided to see if they could be would a possible match for a transplant,” says Peiffer.

Julie’s first niece was tested and was not a match, but her second adopted niece, Katie was.

“This whole time I knew that God had a plan for me and he had a plan for us to do this and it was going to match and it was going to work,” says Canoles.

Doctors told Julie that genetics had nothing to do with it since there was a 5 percent overall chance that doctors would find a match.

“Katie god bless her she comes in and says I know I’m a match,” says Peiffer.

Both Julie and Katie were admitted to Clarkson Hospital in Omaha on December 27.

“They took the right half of my liver and by now it should be regenerated to almost its full size. It will grow back and then the half they gave Julie will grow into a full-size liver,” says Canoles.

Following this experience, both niece and aunt had a successful recovery.

“We just hug and we’re so lucky that she was ok,” says Peiffer.

“You got to have family to lean on,” says Canoles.

Next Friday Katie will return to the hospital to be honored for her donation.

Alongside Katie will be other living kidney and liver donors who gave to others in 2018.

Danielle Saitta

Danielle Saitta

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