DELAWARE COUNTY, PA (WTXF) - A Delaware County man is about to give his cousin a lifesaving gift.
Kate Moran knew this day would eventually come. Her 16-year old daughter Kayleigh is suffering from kidney failure and needs a life-saving transplant. Doctors gave the family the bad news last August.
Kayleigh's kidneys have only been functioning at 30% since she was a child. She was diagnosed with a metabolic disorder called methylmalonic acidemia or MMA at 10 days old.
Her body lacks an enzyme that breaks down certain proteins and fats, which can result in organ failure, or death.
"Children with this disease, it could affect any of their organs. For Kayleigh it was her kidneys," her mother Kate explained.
Kayleigh is fed a special formula through a G-Tube three times a day to make sure she gets the proper nutrients.
She's often tired, nauseous and has no appetite, but has always been upbeat.
She says the news she needed a kidney broke her emotionally, and she couldn't help but think the worst.
"When I found out I was very scared," Kayleigh said, "What if we don't find a donor, what if this happens, what if we wait too long. I was just worrying, what if? What if?"
Kayleigh's mom and dad decided to send out an email to close family and friends asking if anyone would consider being a donor.
Their message acknowledged that it would be a huge decision and one which would save Kayleigh's life.
The response was overwhelming.
That's where Kayleigh's 28-year old cousin Michael Basquill comes in.
"So I always kind of wondered in the back of my head, am I going to be able to help out,"
He says he immediately filled out the donor forms to see if he might possibly be a match.
"I always had in the back of my mind. I kind of felt like when I filled out the paperwork originally that it was gonna be me," Michael explained.
Six weeks later Michael got the phone call, and the news that he knew in his heart; he was a match.
It was a few days before Christmas. So, on Christmas Eve morning, Michael gave Kayleigh a Christmas present she will never forget.
"I found a teddy bear that actually said, 'It's a kidney' on it, so I wrapped it up and wrote a little card," Michael explained, "the card said Merry Christmas. I'm your match. Love, Michael."
"It was a lot of different emotions, I was overwhelmed," Kayleigh recalled, "I was excited."
Kayleigh can now look forward to being like other 16-year olds.
Michael comes from a big and supportive family. He's the youngest of six and his brothers and sister couldn't be prouder.
"He truly is one of the nicest people and i think what he is doing is one of the nicest things you can do for someone else." Michael' older brother Kevin said.
Kayleigh's family couldn't agree more.
"It means Kayleigh will be able to live in a way she has never known," Kate said, "There are no adequate word to tell him how grateful I am and how much it means to me that he has done this."
Kayleigh loves Michael with all her heart. He's not only her cousin. He is her angel, her hero.
"I just saw him, like a treasure almost," Kayleigh said.
"I guess I don't think too much of it. I kind of feel like Kayleigh needed something to stay alive. I have that something. I don't need it, so why not give it to her," Michael explained.
The gift of life will forever connect Kayleigh and her amazing cousin.
"Kayleigh is very blessed. She'll now have a part of him in her, not only his kidney but his goodness," her mother said.
The transplant surgery is scheduled at CHOP this Tuesday.
Doctors say Kayleigh will feel better right away, and Michael will be out of commission for about six to 8 weeks, but says it is all worth it.