When Alannah was five, she was diagnosed with a rare and massive tumor that doesn't respond to chemotherapy. The tumor wrapped itself around Alanna's esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen and small intestine. It was only a matter of time before the tumor would cut off the blood supply to those organs.
She needed a six-organ transplant.
"This is a very difficult operation," says Dr. Heung Be Kim. "It's about as difficult as you can get. And the hard part of it is the actual removal of the tumor and the organs."
After being on the transplant waiting list for 15 months, one family's loss became Alanna's miracle. Three months ago, doctors took Alannah in for her transplant surgery.
"I was calm," says Alannah's grandmother Deb Skolas. "I knew he was going to be able to do it. I just knew Dr. Kim could do it."
During the 14 and a half hour surgery, doctors removed the cancerous tumor and six organs that the tumor had wrapped itself around. Doctors then transplanted in six new organs and gave Alannah her life back.
Perhaps even more amazing is all six organs were attached during the transplant, so it was more like transplanting one large organ.
The operation was a success; they got all of the tumor.
This is believed to be the very first transplant of an esophagus.
Alannah must take medicine to keep her body from rejecting the new organs, but she can now live a normal life.