Local toddler to undergo life-saving surgery - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local toddler to undergo life-saving surgery

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PITTSBURG (WSIL) -- Dialysis and taking multiple medications is a part of everyday life for toddler Giovanna Hill. 

The three and a half year old suffers from Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome of the Finnish Type (CNF) and was diagnosed while her mother, Mallory, was still pregnant.

The rare disease affects her kidneys and causes Giovanna to lose protein in her body and is only seen in 1-3 children out of every 100,000. 

Mallory says CNF has caused other health issues as well, saying "She has thyroidism, she's anemic and we're on high blood pressure medication." 

Then back in May, a turn for the worst. Giovanna's grandmother, Vicky Ridlen, says the young girl went into heart failure. 

"That's something that no parent should ever have to go through," she recalls. "To hear that their baby is going to die twice in one week."

Ridlen says Giovanna does have one saving grace, "The only treatment for it is a kidney transplant that's it, so there's no other cure for it." 

However, that day is soon approaching. Next Tuesday, Giovanna's dad, Bryce, will give up his left kidney to save his daughter's life. 

"We're ready, we are excited," Mallory explains. "Today is her dad's last day of work. We're packing everything, and we go up Monday." 

Doctors had initially been worried that Bryce carried the disease in his genes.  

Giovanna had six other donors ready to give up their kidney for her. But, after testing, Bryce ended up being the perfect match. 

"One night we sat on the floor and he did say that he is a little nervous," Mallory remembers. "He won't admit it. I think he's worried about it not working, but I've told him it's going to be fine and it's going to be great." 

The surgery is expected to take at least six hours for Giovanna, and she will  be in the hospital for up to ten days. 

On Saturday August 10, there will be a golf tournament at Goofy Golf in Marion with all proceeds going toward Giovanna's medical expenses. 

The cost is $10 per person and registration begins at 9 a.m. The tournament starts at 10 a.m. 

Giovanna's family is also selling Giovanna t-shirts at the tournament. Proceeds from those will also go toward medical expenses and a donation to the St.Louis Children's Hospital. 

Her family would like supports to wear the shirts on Tuesday August 13 and send them photos, so Giovanna can see them when she recovers. 

The family can also be contacted about t-shirts on the Facebook page, Prayers for Giovanna Ainslee Hill


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