ATLANTA - Seven-year-old Charlie Hall's family knew she would eventually need a kidney from the day she was born. Haley Snepp said her daughter has been in and out of the hospital six times since June, and her kidneys are only functioning at 10 percent.
Charlie's favorite things: her pig Peppa, trips to Target, and playing with plastic food. She likes to pretend she's a chef competing on the show Chopped and hopes to do it for real one day. One wouldn't know by watching her play in the kitchen with her younger sister that she doesn't even eat food traditionally. She's fed through a little black backpack six times a day. Charlie's mom Haley Snepp said the tube also keeps her hydrated and her kidneys functioning.
"She has kidney failure and she has a concentration defect so she gets dehydrated extremely easy," said Snepp.
Charlie was born early at 26 weeks weighing one pound and 10 ounces. Keeping her healthy has been a challenge for this single mom. Charlie has to stay home from school to stay well. Even with all of this going on, she keeps a happy attitude and kind spirit. Even when you ask her what she wants for Christmas, she's thinking of others.
"She said, I don't really need any presents, there's only one present I want, and I said what is that, and she said for your mom, I just want you," said Snepp.
Charlie's full kidney evaluation is set for January 9. Doctors were waiting for Charlie to be big enough to handle an adult kidney. Charlie's father will be tested first to see if he is a match to donate.
"I had just recently found out that I have a cyst on each one of my kidneys so there's a chance that I wouldn't be able to be a donor... I really want to be the one to be able to help her," said Snepp.
Snepp said a new and functioning kidney will vastly improve her daughter's quality of life. She would have more energy, better health, and finally be able to eat and enjoy all of the food she dreams about cooking.
Anyone who wants to see if they are a match for Charlie or any other patient can go to emory.donorscreen.org.
Insurance will not cover all of the family's expenses during the transplant or the expensive follow-up medications. The family set up an account to help cover the difference: GoFundMe.com/charlies-kidney-transplant.