Pierre T.F. Riggs Governors cross country team manager Abby Jeffries was named November’s Warrior of the Month on Friday. Here is her nomination:
Abby was a cross country manager during the season, until we found out that Abby was going to get a kidney transplant. At the time, I didn’t know Abby’s story, but as I talked to Abby’s father, Bob Jeffries, I found out that this young girl was quite the Warrior!!! The story of Abby is talked about below and this story is very inspirational. About five weeks after Abby’s transplant, I contacted Abby’s father and asked what the chances were that Abby could attend the cross-country banquet in mid-November. I totally understood that the answer would probably be no. The response I got was “not likely”, but that dad would attend in her honor. I thought that would be great. At this time, I approached all the kids on the cross-country team and collected an open donation for Abby Jefferies. The team donated $120.00, and I went to three vendors and got Abby gift cards: $30 for Zesto, $30 for Branding Iron, $30 for Red Rosa, and $20 in cash.
A few days before our cross-country banquet on November 14, I was contacted by Bob Jeffries, and was told that Abby was given the ok to attend the banquet. Abby had not been around other kids, and had not even been back to school. I was honored as the cross-country coach to present Abby her Varsity Letter for Manager and the donations that were collected. The story below is Abby’s story as told by her father, Bob Jeffries.
Abby got her first transplant when she was 2 ½ years old – just a little baby. That kidney lasted her 14 ½ years. We did have issues starting about seven years ago, and things kept getting worse. The first kidney was not the best match, but it was the best they had at the time. Kidney function continued to decrease, and two and a half years ago, she went on dialysis. In Pierre, there are not any kids that need dialysis, so their unit is set up for adults only. We did dialysis every night for about 10 hours, while she was sleeping.
We got a 5:30 a.m. call on the Fourth of July that they might have a kidney, and they would let us know if the testing from her blood supply would be a good match for the kidney coming in. Long story short, it was a very long day, but at about 10:30 p.m., we found out she would NOT get the kidney. Abby handled it well, and said we would just wait. She said it is okay, and that she didn’t want to miss the fireworks.
On Sept. 30, we got another 5:30 a.m. wakeup call. They wanted us to bring Abby to Minneapolis, not necessarily for a kidney transplant, but to test her blood to see if it would be a good match. There was another issue: there were two people ahead of her also waiting for a kidney. We got in the truck and headed to Minneapolis. Julie, my wife, waited with Miah, Abby’s sister, and two foster children who were living with us at the time. We drove quickly, but it was a long trip (Highway 212 was shut down), and we had to go through Milbank. When we arrived, they drew blood for testing. We checked into a hotel, and at 9:00 p.m., we were advised that she would NOT get the kidney. We hooked up to dialysis and cried. At about 10 p.m., we got another call, “Abby is back in the running!” Check into the hospital, there is one room still available. We unhooked from the dialysis machine and went to the hospital. When we got to the hospital, we were advised, “There is not room at the inn.” We got a call from the Transplant Coordinator, who then told us the one room that was available had been taken by someone who needed urgent care. We went back to the motel to clean up the dialysis mess and hook up to the machine again. At 11 p.m., we got a call that said the labs looked good, and that they were still checking on cross matching. At midnight, we were told the cross matching was good. At 1 a.m. on Oct. 1, we were advised that surgery would be later that day between 2-4 p.m. I called my wife, and she said they would head up in the morning.
Abby went into surgery about 2 p.m. The whole procedure lasted three hours and 47 minutes. Abby, after getting out of recovery, went to the fifth floor at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, and was there until Sunday when she was officially discharged from the hospital. At that time, Abby had another 23 days before she would be able to come home. She had Monday checkups with the Nephrology (kidney) team, and had to draw blood at 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until she came home. She now does lab tests/blood draw twice a week. They continue to monitor the labs to make sure she is taking the right meds to avoid rejection, and to keep her healthy.
As you can see, this is quite the story for any young girl to have to fight, but Abby Jeffries fought the fight as she continues today. I am very honored that I had the opportunity to get to know this young Pierre girl, and learn about her story. Thank you Bob Jeffries for sharing Abby’s story for everyone to read and become aware of what she has been through. Abby’s story really puts life into perspective as to what is important in this world.