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Surprise Squad: Teacher donates kidney to teen battling rare disease

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    GA (WGCL ) — Thirteen-year-old Maggie Haynes loves her animals. She shows off her goats and pig, and explains she can’t go near her chickens right now. “I can’t do a lot, if they jump on me that would hurt me,” she says.

Being able to take care of her animals at all is a miracle, Maggie’s mother Ashley says. Maggie was born with a rare kidney disease. “She went downhill very quickly,” Ashley recalls.

Maggie’s older sister, Lily, has the same condition. When Lily was nine years old, Ashley donated one of her own kidneys to her daughter. “In our family, by necessity, we are used to medical issues,” Ashley says.

When Maggie’s health took a turn and she suddenly needed a kidney, no one else in the family was a match for her.

That’s where Joy Silk comes in.

“Ashley and I went to high school together,” Joy explains. Her parents live down the street from Maggie and her family. Ashley’s sister works out with Joy on a regular basis.

Two families already connected, had one more thing in common. Joy’s mother donated a kidney last year, after seeing a news story about a child in need. “Ashley’s sister was asking about her and how’s she’s doing, and that’s when she told me about the girls,” Joy explains. “I said kind of flippantly, when the time comes let me know I’d like to be screened.”

When Maggie’s doctor determined the situation had become dire, Ashley put out a request on Facebook for anyone interested in donating to get screened. Joy responded immediately.

Soon, Joy found out she was a perfect match for Maggie. They went through the transplant surgery in October.

“It’s the kindest thing ever because if I didn’t have kidney disease and someone I know needed a kidney, she didn’t hesitate or anything. I don’t know if I would have done that,” Maggie says.

Maggie and Ashley hadn’t seen each other since the surgery, so the CBS46 Surprise Squad got them together.

With the help of United Community Bank, the CBS46 Surprise Squad gifted Joy a gift card to purchase golf clubs, as well as a membership at her local club. She loves playing with her family, and looks forward to perfecting her game.

The CBS46 Surprise Squad also surprised Maggie and her family with $1,000 to help them with the many expenses that have popped up along the way.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a donor, click cystinosisresearch.org

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