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Family Counts On Faith To Deal With Polycystic Kidney Disease

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — People with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) are born with it, but it is usually not diagnosed until adulthood. That's when the first symptoms usually appear, but one form of PKD can strike very early in life as one family knows firsthand.

UNC Kidney Center

PKD Foundation

Christie Bryson and her mother, Betty, know the halls at UNC Hospitals well. Christie's 5-month-old daughter, Miracle, was born with a rare form of PKD.

"She truly was a little miracle. Because they told us that she probably would die as soon as she was born," said Betty Bryson, Miracle's grandmother.

Now, Miracle is in critical care at the hospital, but she has had better moments at home.

"I mean, she would laugh, coo, talk to you. Stuff like that. Play with you," said Christie Bryson. "She likes to kick you in the bed. It's just amazing."

Miracle's enlarged-cyst-covered kidneys had to be removed at birth. She is currently on kidney dialysis.

"We are able to sustain life, thankfully, with dialysis and the push is really to get these children transplanted because it's a much better way of life," said UNC pediatric nephrologist Dr. Keisha Gibson.

Miracle needs to gain about five more pounds to get on the transplant waiting list, but she has had trouble eating. Health experts said only about 30 percent to 40 percent of babies with PKD survive their first year. Through the Brysons' faith, they believe she will beat the odds.

"It's been tough. It's been a long road and she has a long way to go, but we're not giving up," said Christie Bryson. "Little Miracle's got to be a miracle."

A Walk for PKD to raise money for research will be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Sept. 16.


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