Health care partnerships help Topeka toddler beat odds

Health care partnerships help Topeka toddler beat odds
Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 9:51 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Exploring, playing, and chattering away, Tayzlee Mellott is well into her terrible twos.

“She’s a wild one!” her father Trevor says with a laugh. “She’s one of a kind.”

Her curiosity comes with a smile - and the best hugs.

“She’s so happy. She likes to talk,” her mom Amanda said. “The doctors will also tell you that she has the best personality for a baby that has been through so much trauma.”

The trauma began at mom Amanda’s 20-week checkup. Doctors discovered she had little amniotic fluid, which they said was because Tayzlee did not have kidneys. The condition also typically leads to issues with lung and heart development.

Amanda and Trevor say the news was devastating, especially since they’d been through five years of fertility treatments before they became pregnant with Tayzlee.

“With it being your first child, it was hard,” Trevor said. “I thought pregnancy was just all smooth sailing until you go actually go through it and then you realize it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows.”

Amanda said doctors at Stormont Vail’s Maternal and Fetal Medicine told them Tayzlee’s chance of surviving past birth was less than 30 percent. They gave Amanda and Trevor a choice: end the pregnancy, or see if their specialist partners at Children’s Mercy could try other options.

“I’m blessed that they gave me that chance to be able to go somewhere else because I wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” Amanda said.

After months of treatment including twice-weekly injections, Tayzlee arrived. She went on hemodialysis at two days old, and spent her first three months on a breathing tube.

“I wasn’t even able to hold her until she was about two months old,” Amanda recalls.

Two years of trips to Kansas City for continued dialysis led up to a big change this summer. Tayzlee was put on the list for a new kidney June 10, and received a transplant July 11: A young man from Nebraska who lost his life gave Tayzlee a second chance at her own.

“I am very blessed that they saved my daughter’s life,” Amanda said, adding the same donor also helped four other patients.

In a five-hour surgery, Tayzlee received a new kidney, and doctors created a path of urine to get out of her body. Amanda says Tayzlee was the first child at Children’s Mercy to undergo both procedures at the same time.

Both she and Trevor say, through all of it, Tayzlee hasn’t followed a script. Instead, she writes her own story.

“Literally three days after surgery she was almost back to her normal self,” Trevor said. “She fights through it and the change is she gets to do more stuff now, so we have more freedom.”

It’s freedom to spread joy and love - and just be a kid.

“She shows me how strong I can be,” Amanda said. “I’ve always been really down on myself and then I look at her and I’m like, ‘Oh my, God. Look at how strong she is. If she can be this strong, I can be strong.’ My life changed the day that I had her. She is such a little fighter.”

Tayzlee came home this week. She’ll take anti-rejection medication, but otherwise is doing well.

The family thanks their huge network of supporters, including those who organized a benefit motorcycle ride for them. The event will be held Sunday, July 31. People may gather at 1:30 p.m. at SW 10th and Wanamaker, with the ride departing at 2 p.m. for Hell Rayzors in Harveyville for a car and bike show and other fun. Due to Tayzlee’s compromised immune system, the family requests people sanitize and wear a mask if they are near her.

Half the proceeds will go to Tayzlee’s family, with the other half forwarded to her donor’s family. Anyone who’d like to donate to the effort may contact Bobbi at Hell Rayzors, 785-589-2299.

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