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Kaukauna Woman Donates Liver to Save Baby Sophia

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Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Kaukauna Woman Donates Liver to Save Baby Sophia

By Stacy Engebretson. CREATED Feb 26, 2014

Kaukauna, WI --  She stole our hearts with her battle against a life-threatening liver disease called biliary atresia. NBC26 first introduced you to Sophia Skrede of Kaukauna last August during a fundraiser. Now, a family friend has come through with the biggest gift of all. 

Sophia Skrede is about to turn 1-year-old. It's a milestone her mom, Steph, feared her baby may never reach.
 
"There were days watching her get sicker that I kept thinking to myself, how are we going to get a transplant?" said Steph. 
 
Fluid filled Sophia's belly and she stopped gaining weight. A living liver donor was the only option to save her life.
 
Steph says, "Kayla called and she's like I'm at your front door, come to the door. And she walked in and had this look in her eyes, and she handed me a shirt for Sohpia and she unzipped hers and it said 'Keep calm, we're a match,' and to know we had that option, I finally felt like there was a chance." 
 
22-year-old Kayla Fink lost her mother, Ellen, to brain cancer last year at the age of 54. She knew the feeling of helplessness that Steph was experiencing, but giving her friend hope was something Kayla could control.    
 
"Being able to donate my liver was enough to do something to make a difference. I was willing to do that," said Kayla.
On December 30, 2013, surgeons in Chicago removed 30% of Kayla's liver and successfully transplanted the healthy organ into Sophia who's liver had turned green with disease.
 
Kayla says, "To know that I helped save her life and get her healthy faster than if she had to wait for somebody, for a deceased donor and another donor to step up, feels good. And I know my mom would be proud that I did that, so that helps too."
Two months later, Kayla is back at work, and Sophia is a different baby. 
 
"It's amazing to see her so happy and know that Kayla did this. It's awesome," said Steph.
 
It's a special bond between two superwomen and a second chance for Sophia. Kayla has high hopes for Sophia's future.
 
"That she can just live the life that any kid should get, to grow up healthy and be with her big sisters and her brother and just have fun and enjoy life," said Kayla.
 
The Children's Organ Transplant Association is helping with the financial burden of Sophia and Kayla's surgeries. For more information on their fundraiser, click here.