Vienna's Story

Pediatric Liver Recipient

Ten-year-old Vienna is a bubbly, outgoing little girl. She’s spunky – a trait which possibly comes from the fact that she’s a survivor. When Vienna was an infant, her parents were told she suffered from a rare liver disease in which her bile ducts didn’t form properly and that she’d need a liver transplant in order to survive.

Suddenly, the joy of their first child’s birth felt more like fear to Paul and Traci, Vienna’s parents.  Vienna was on the transplant list for seven weeks before her parents got word that there was a match for her in Denver.

“We were excited and overjoyed,” her father, Paul said. “She was very, very sick – jaundiced like a pumpkin.”

Vienna was on the waitlist for over three months, and only one week shy of being seven months old on Feb. 5, 2005 when she became the only infant liver transplant recipient in Colorado that year.  Her donor was the family of a two-year-old boy who had died following a tragic household accident.

In the decade since her transplant, Vienna has become a big sister to two younger siblings. “She is the CEO, management material,” her father says.  “She delegates to both of her siblings and sometimes I find her managing me.”

In addition to her management training program, Vienna enjoys typical little girl activities like playing dress-up. She also participates in student government at her elementary school, and bicycling events like the Elephant Rock Ride with Team Transplant.

In 2015, Vienna and her family celebrated the tenth anniversary of her transplant by hosting a sleepover with her friends and getting away to Keystone for a little family time on the slopes and in the hot tub.

“We are so grateful to our donor’s family,” Traci said. “Because of his gift, I get to kiss a miracle every day.”

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