Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 9, 2014

A gift, with love

Younger sister donates kidney to ailing sibling

Two years ago, MacKenzie Dias watched as an older sister, Ashley, who was born with cystic fibrosis, waited on a lung transplant donor list for organs that never came.

Before Ashley Dias could receive a double lung transplant — her second in about 10 years — the 26-year-old graduate of Andover High School died June 14, 2012 at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio with her youngest sister and other family members by her bedside.

So when the oldest of the Dias sisters, Lindsey, who was also born with cystic fibrosis, found herself in the hospital this winter awaiting her second kidney transplant, MacKenzie was determined to see that she received the life-saving surgery.

On Tuesday, MacKenzie Dias donated her kidney to her sister.

Just hours after the surgery, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, mother Marylynne Dias of Andover was positive about the results.

“Everything went so well,” Marylynne Dias said, adding she was hopeful her daughters could be released from the hospital as soon this Thursday.

In an email prior to the surgery, MacKenzie Dias said she was not about to watch her sister Lindsey suffer the same fate as sister Ashley.

“Yes, I am incredibly relieved. It’s been a long and tiring journey, but I was determined to save my sister’s life. I saw my other sister wait on a list for lungs that never came. I wasn’t letting that happen to Lindsey,” MacKenzie Dias wrote.

With both Lindsey and Ashley Dias born three years apart with cystic fibrosis, the family has been no stranger to transplant surgeries.

Cystic fibrosis is a recessive, multi-system genetic disease that leads to thick deposits of mucus in the lungs as well as several other symptoms throughout the body. Often lung, kidney, pancreas and liver transplants are needed to improve quality of life.

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