Six-year-old Kinley Hildebrandt from Kindersley spent her first weekend at home after enduring a liver transplant over three months ago.

Friends, family and supporters from near and far have followed Kinley’s journey after being diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disease, at just three months of age. Since then it has been a series of ups and downs as her health was determined on a day-to-day basis.

In November of last year, Kinely was put on the donor list to receive a new liver and after 107 days, Kinley’s mom Candis, got the call saying they have found a match.

Earlier this year, Kinley and Candis travelled to the hospital in Edmonton for the transplant surgery and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) while she recovered. After 100 days at the RMH, and 107 days after her transplant, Kinley was given the go ahead to return home.

Candis said, although it was overwhelming at times, Kinley was so excited to go to school and see her friends last Friday and made sure to show-off her scar from the surgery.

“Even at the Ronald McDonald House, she was so proud of the scar and I would see her showing other kids on the playground and here was no different, she was showing off her scar to all the other kids.”

Candis shared that although the transplant is a positive step forward for Kinley, there are still complications and it is by no means a cure. In order for her body to accept the new liver, Kinley will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life, which means adapting to a lowered immune system.

“The name of the game now is just to be really diligent about washing hands, not going out in big crowds, not going around anyone who is sick, just really being careful,” said Candis.

Due to the transplant, Kinley isn’t getting the fluid retention she once was, which has allowed her stomach to return to normal and isn’t protruding as it was in the past.

In the first few days of being home, Candis said it has been very busy and they are just trying to take it all in and simply enjoy being at home.

Candis expressed deep gratitude for everyone who has shown their support and thanked all those who messaged her or commented on Kinley's Journey With Biliary Atresia Facebook page.

“I read them all. I know I didn’t respond to them all, but I read them all and they helped so much and were truly touching and I am just so appreciative for all the support we have gotten.”

As for now, Candis said they don’t have any big plans for the summer, they will just take it all one day at a time but said it is such a relief to have the transplant behind them and can now focus on moving forward.


Photos from Kinley's Journey With Biliary Atresia from her first days back at home.