The transplant team at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon performs heart, liver and kidney transplants. For more information, please contact us at 314-577-5351.
Gracie Greenhoff's Story
For Gracie Greenhoff, a trip to the hospital is reminiscent of a celebrity arrival in which the blue and yellow swirls on the floor are like her very own red carpet. She is a patient who needs no introduction, and a simple mention of her name to any nurse or employee is sure to result in an outpouring of adoration.
At just 2 years old, Gracie has made her mark on us in a way that has everyone she meets smiling. However, Gracie’s short life has already had its fill of challenges as well. Three weeks before she was born, doctors told Jenn Greenhoff, Gracie’s mom, that something was wrong with Gracie’s kidneys. After an early induced labor, Gracie was born on Dec. 13, 2005, and only three days later she was admitted to the hospital.
Gracie was born with multicystic dysplastic disease in her left kidney. Simply, Gracie was born with one semi-functioning kidney and one that did not function at all.
In Need of a Kidney
The good kidney was sufficient for most of her first year, however its function soon diminished, forcing Gracie to go on dialysis. The dialysis was done from home, yet the Greenhoffs still came in every week for checkups. However, another infection soon claimed Gracie’s working kidney, forcing it to be removed in June 2007. Gracie was placed on the transplant list on Aug. 30, 2007. Fortunately, only two weeks later, the Greenhoffs received news that a donor had been found for transplantation, and on Sept. 13, Gracie got her new kidney. Gracie loves her transplant surgeon, Dr. Kian Modanlou, who she calls "Dr. Mo Mo."
Since the transplant, Gracie is unstoppable.
“Just four weeks after the surgery, she literally went from a walk to a run and hasn’t stopped since,” Jenn Greenhoff says.
Being able to run through the halls of Glennon is an indication of her progress since before the transplant. By nine months Gracie had begun talking and walking, but it all regressed once she was placed in the hospital.
“She would just be getting confident with talking and walking, and then she was suddenly put in the hospital and it would stop,” Jenn Greenhoff says.
Now, Gracie has no void of confidence.
“She does whatever she wants here. She’s the star here, I’m just the mom,” Greenhoff says.
Her biggest fans seem to be the SSM Health Cardinal Glennon staff. Erin Foristal, transplant coordinator, has been with Gracie through the entire experience, and their relationship has them acting more like best friends than a nurse and a patient.
“Gracie is such a rock star. She is so great,” Foristal says.
At just 2 years old, it seems Gracie has already touched a great deal of lives, and her personality and smile give every indication why. Gracie is now being transitioned off weekly checkups, which is a good indication of her progress. While fewer visits mean great news for Gracie, the staff may be a little sad to see her less often. Nonetheless, it seems that Gracie’s fan club gains more members each day, a factor that pleases her mom.
“If she is going to have to have this illness – she might as well be popular.”
Read more about Gracie.
Meet the Transplant Team
Kenneth Schowengerdt Jr., MD
Andrew Fiore, MD
Charles Huddleston, MD
Ajay Jain, MD
Ellen Wood, MD
Anne Beck, MD
Craig Belsha, MD
Richard Feldenberg, MD
Abdominal Surgery for Kidney and Liver
Mustafa Nazzal, MD
Henry Randall, MD
Chintalapati V. Varma, MD
Erin Foristal, RN, BSN, CCTC
Julie Feldenberg, RN
Katie Gruenkemeyer, RN