A Detroit teenager, patiently waiting in Houston for a double lung transplant, found a donor.
Kayla Aubry’s first words in recovery gave her dad, Scott, chills.
“I can breathe,” she said in a video posted on Facebook.
A child someone else lost donated the lungs that now live inside Kayla.
“They saved my girl,” Scott Aubry said. “I really hope to meet them someday personally.”
“I want to bring a stethoscope so they can listen to their child breathe again,” Kayla Aubry said.
Born with Cystic Fibrosis, Aubry learned she had it 11 years too late. She needed two new lungs.
KHOU 11 News met the Aubry’s in May at an Astros game. The team’s foundation donated tickets. The father and daughter spent the entire night waiting and hoping for a pager, signaling a transplant match, to buzz.
It finally did on July 14 Four hours later, doctors removed dying lungs from Kayla’s body and patched a small hole discovered in her heart.
On Facebook, Scott celebrated what seemed to be a successful double lung transplant. Photos showed his daughter walking and wincing through breathing treatments.
Then, her left lung collapsed. blood clot kept it from inflating, Aubry said.
“There is a small, very small chance that I will die,” Kayla said of her thoughts at the time. “But, there’s a way bigger chance that I’m going to make it.”
“It was a scary feeling,” Scott said. “The happy part came really when we made it past the second surgery and things started to come into the clear.”
The Aubry’s held hands through it all. Gradually, Kayla came off oxygen, feeding tubes and rediscovered McDonald’s, waffles and one enormous appetite.
“I hadn’t eaten in so long (that) I don’t even remember what a normal portion size is,” Kayla Aubry said.
Ten months after walking into Texas Children’s Hospital, the Aubrys left together.
Though Kayla still needs 76 pills a day and near daily check-ups to make sure her new lungs work, the family’s latest trip to Minute Maid Park finally felt like a walk in the park.