Teen, family hope medical process will make finding a new kidney easier

Teen, family hope medical process will make finding a new kidney easier

Mary Ashley Barbot and her mom have her bags packed. It looks like the 13-year-old is headed to summer camp as she helps tote her luggage and large pillows.

Instead, she's taking the tedious trip she makes at least three times a week to a dialysis center on King Street.

The teen needs a kidney transplant. She's been on a waiting list for nearly four years. But she hopes that will change, soon.

"We still don't have a match," said her mom Charlene. "So we are looking at going through another process called desensitization."

Mary Ashley's doctor says the process includes giving her a combination of medicines in the next few weeks to remove antibodies that fight foreign tissues, like a donated organ.

"It does comes with risks, such as infections and so we don't take it lightly," said Katherine Twombley, the director of MUSC's division of Pediatric Nephrology.

Dr. Twombley says Mary Ashley has an unusually high level of antibodies due to a previous transplant. She was born with a nephrodic syndrome.

A kidney transplant from a deceased donor saved her life when she was 2 years-old, but it began to fail nearly four years ago. She been on a waiting list ever since.

Now doctors say her best chance is a living donor.

"It's a lot to ask for to ask of somebody," said Charlene and husband Chip, as they finished each others' sentence. "A lot to ask of somebody."

The Barbots say they're grateful so many people have already come forwarded to be tested as a possible match for Mary Ashley. But they're hopeful, as they ask again, the desensitization process will make their little girl more compatable with potential donors, if even for a couple of months.

"Really we're kind of at the point where we've exhausted all other measures," said Dr. Twombley. "We've gotten to the point where this is all we have right now."

It might be Mary Ashley's best chance.

"We are hoping, hoping so much for a better life for her," said her mom.

The Barbots are hoping, praying, for a life where Mary Ashley doesn't pack her bags for three hours of dialysis several times a week to stay alive; instead she packs them for some place fun, like summer camp.

If you would like to be tested as a possible match for Mary Ashley, it is as simple as a blood test. Just call 843-792-4722 and ask for Sara Parker.

More information is also available on her website, The family says they will cover the medical costs is someone does in fact become a match.

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