Meet Kendall Ferguson, an 18-year old who in May of 2015, was in an operating room at Levine Children's Hospital undergoing heart transplant surgery. But it wasn't her first time. This active teen got her first heart transplant as a baby.
Carolinas Healthcare System's Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Gonzalo Wallis said Kendall did well until about a year or two ago when, "she started to present problems with chronic rejection."
Dr. Wallis said transplants typically last 14 to 15 years. And when the body starts to reject donated organs, it does so very quickly. That's what allowed doctors to classify Kendall as a special dispensation, or top priority organ transplant candidate.
A heart became available in May. In came CHS Pediatric Heart Surgeon Thomas Maxey.
"She had stints placed in her coronary arteries where they were rejecting. That causes an inflammatory response. Fortunately she was in pretty good shape prior to that, so her risks were higher than a first time transplant, but not unreasonable," said Dr. Maxey.
Kendall made it through an 8 hour surgery... and even recovered quicker than expected in the hospital. Now she's at home with her besties -- her older twin Kaylee and their younger 15-year old sister Katie.
These young ladies do everything, including interviewing, together.
"Most of the time we really wouldn't do anything without her (Kendall) being able to do it. We like to stick together," said Kaylee.
Katie added, "She hasn't been able to swim, so we haven't swam."
Instead these sisters fill their days with tie-dying, and things like learning to play the guitar.
"It opened my eyes," said Kendall. "Hearing that I needed a heart transplant just opened my eyes that I just wanted to spend more time with my family."