WJTV News Channel 12 - CARTHAGE: 9-year-old girl begins new journey after transplant

New kidney means new journey for 9-year-old Moore Co. girl

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9-year-old Evie Wentz with her dad, Tyler Wentz, who promised her he wouldn't shave until she received new kidney. 9-year-old Evie Wentz with her dad, Tyler Wentz, who promised her he wouldn't shave until she received new kidney.
9-year-old Evie Wentz received a kidney transplant Feb. 18 after a friend from church found out she was a match. 9-year-old Evie Wentz received a kidney transplant Feb. 18 after a friend from church found out she was a match.
CARTHAGE, N.C. -

Two days after a 9-year-old Moore County girl came home after receiving a much-needed kidney transplant, she says she is feeling much better.

More than a year after she developed permanent kidney failure, Evie Wentz received a kidney transplant Feb. 18 when Jennifer Trapp learned of Evie's story and found out she was a match. Trapp and the Wentz family attend the same church in Sanford.

"I'm really grateful that things are winding toward the end of that journey and moving on toward a new journey," said Evie's mother, Heather.

The first sign of a problem with Evie's health came in November 2012 when she became sick with E. Coli, which turned into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a disease that destroys red blood cells.

As a result of the disease, both of Evie's kidneys and her pancreas stopped working, and her heart wasn't working properly because of too much fluid. She also developed pneumonia, one of her lungs collapsed and gastrointestinal bleeding caused her to need more than 40 blood transfusions.

"It was a big roller coaster because they would fix one thing and then something else would be the problem," explained Evie's father, Tyler.

For nearly three months, Evie was at the North Carolina Children's Hospital at UNC Health Care, where she spent six weeks in an intensive care unit clinging to life.

In February 2013, Evie was finally able to come on. But weighing less than 40 pounds, she had permanent kidney failure, her pancreas never recovered and she was a diabetic.

At the time, her father promised her that if she got healthy enough to be put on the kidney transplant list, he would stop shaving his face and not shave again until she got a kidney.

"It's symbolic," Tyler Wentz said. "I'm just grateful that Evie's gotten to the point where I can shave it off."

Evie added, "I felt happy. ... Because it means I'm getting better, and now he doesn't have lots of stuff on his face to worry about."

Trapp, who attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Sanford with the Wentz family, learned of Evie's story, and volunteered for the operation when she realized she was in the right age range and had the right blood type. That was in August of 2013.

It took a few months to be sure Trapp was a good match.

Last month, the family found out that Trapp was a match, and on Feb. 18 the transplant was successfully completed. Within minutes, Evie's new kidney began producing urine.

"She's done a great thing for me, and she'll get a lot of blessings for it," Evie said.

She is doing much better and is expected to have many years ahead of her now. However, doctors say all transplants eventually fail. So Evie is expected to need four or five transplants during her lifetime.

"We'll be able to share a lot more quality time thanks to Jen's selflessness," Tyler Wentz said.

Evie's family has decided to use Children's Organ Transplant Association to help raise funds for transplant related costs.

Volunteers have already raised more the $28,000 of the $45,000 goal.

Click Here to find out how to donate.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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