• 8-year-old battling rare kidney disease boosts holiday spirits

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    Even in a hospital bed, Alexis Hatfield makes it very hard not to smile. 
     
    Two years ago, the 8-year-old Washington, Pennsylvania, girl underwent a kidney transplant because of a rare disease. But an experimental treatment at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh could be the answer her family has been seeking.
     
    Alexis is fighting the kidney disease focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, more commonly known as FSGS. After the initial treatment failed, Alexis got a kidney transplant in 2014 – a move her family hoped would save her life. 
     
    "We thought the FSGS was not going to reoccur after transplant. But it did right away,” her father, Jacob Hatfield, said. 
     
    To fight the disease, doctors started Alexis on an experimental treatment and, so far, it’s working. 
     
    Next Friday, Alexis will have her last treatment, which appears to be keeping her disease in remission. 
     
    Her physician, Dr. Michael Moritz, said Alexis is one of the smallest people in the country to be on this therapy. 
     
    “To do that you have to be a fighter and the family has to be innovators willing to try something on their daughter that may have not been done before,” Moritz said.
     
    If the therapy works, it would be the best present of all for Alexis and her family. Curing her kidney disease even made Alexis’ Christmas wish list, along with some other items that make people smile – like cheese. 
     
    Her mother said the experimental treatment didn’t exist a year ago. They’re asking anyone interested in helping to donate to the research nonprofit organization NephCure.org so a cure can be found. 
     

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