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Once Denied Transplant Due To Special Needs, Girl Now Thriving

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Three months after receiving a new kidney, a girl who made national headlines when her parents said she was initially denied a transplant due to her intellectual disability is now doing well.

Chrissy and Joe Rivera say their daughter Amelia, 5, is getting stronger and shows no sign of rejecting the new organ.

“She’s more active; she moves around more, she’s more vocal,” Chrissy Rivera, 38, of Stratford, N.J. told USA Today.

The family drew national attention last year when Rivera wrote a blog post detailing how she was told by a doctor at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that a transplant would not be possible for her then-3-year-old daughter because the girl is “mentally retarded.”

“I expected it to be seen by 10 or 20 people,” Rivera said of her initial post.

Instead, the posting went viral prompting over 50,000 people to sign an online petition asking the hospital to reconsider. Amelia’s case was subsequently re-evaluated and Rivera successfully donated a kidney to her daughter in early July.

Though Amelia — who has a chromosomal disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome — is now doing well, the Riveras admit that her future is uncertain since the transplant will likely fail at some point and she has other health issues, but they remain optimistic.

“Amelia is going to write her own book; she is going to meet her own milestones when she is ready,” Rivera said.

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