Yulia Hicks, a child who was reportedly denied a kidney transplant by Duke Children’s Hospital last year, underwent a successful, life-saving kidney transplant at ECUHealth Medical Center on Thursday.
The North Carolina-based hospital stepped up to help Yulia, who has a genetic kidney disorder that requires a transplant, after her family said last year that Duke was refusing to put the teen on its kidney wait-list because she is unvaccinated against COVID. Notably, the family says Yulia had already recovered from the virus, but such information was unimportant to Duke Children’s Hospital.
Yulia was sent back for surgery at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, and is currently recovering in the pediatric ICU, Yulia’s mother Chrissy Hicks told The Daily Wire in a phone interview on Friday. The teen’s surgery went extremely well and relatively quickly. Yulia is expected to leave the hospital on Monday or Tuesday.
“We found out Friday that we were gonna have surgery this week, and that was just, like, overwhelming because the blessings are just — it’s so overwhelming that everything worked out,” Chrissy told The Daily Wire. “You know, we had hoped that this would all happen, but then for it to actually happen — you’re like, oh my gosh, it really worked, you know?”
Yulia’s donor is a man from Kentucky, who has decided to remain anonymous. The family was told his initials are J.J.
“If it wasn’t for the media giving us attention, we would’ve never found her donor, because he came forward because he saw it in [online],” Chrissy said. “He wanted to just test and see if he was a match. We still don’t know his name, we just know he is from Kentucky and we know his initials are J.J., so he’s gonna forever be J.J. to us.”
Chrissy said around 40 people came forward looking to test if they were a match in the wake of conservative media bringing attention to Yulia’s case.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE DAILY WIRE APP
The Hicks family asked for prayers for J.J. in an update posted to a GiveSendGo account for the family. “Please pray for his recovery. He is a hero,” it reads.
Chrissy told The Daily Wire that her family is working to get Yulia’s Law passed in North Carolina. The law would bar hospitals from denying people transplants based on their COVID vaccination status. Chrissy would like to see the law go national.
“It’s just about medical freedom is what it really comes down to,” she said. “And it’s not just about Yulia. Through this whole thing, we’ve had about 10 or 15 people contact us privately and we’ve been able to send them to hospitals that we know will take them without the vaccine. So it is not just about Yulia; it’s helping other people already and we’re hoping we can expand that even more.”
The family is also pursuing a lawsuit against Duke over the hospital allegedly denying Yulia a place on the transplant list over her COVID vaccination status.
“We are also still raising money for legal fees for our lawsuit against Duke,” the GiveSendGo account says. “What they did to our daughter was unconscionable.”
Chrissy praised the team at ECUHealth for their care and professionalism.
“We want to thank the entire team at ECUHealth for everything, especially Dr. Leeser, Dr. Romine, Cynthia Stone, and Allyson Ayers.” the crowdfunding page reads. “They are the most caring and professional team that we have encountered on this journey.”
The Daily Wire reported last year that a phone call, the recording of which was obtained by journalist Alex Berenson, reportedly revealed a Duke health official telling the Hicks family that Yulia must get vaccinated against COVID before she could become a candidate for the kidney transplant.
“I can’t require you to do anything. I can recommend these things, but if you don’t follow our recommendations, then Yulia can’t be a transplant candidate here,” the Duke Health kidney specialist reportedly said.
Throughout her interview with The Daily Wire, Chrissy repeatedly gushed over everyone who’s supported and prayed for Yulia.
“Thank you,” Chrissy said. “Just, thank you. We can never — ‘thank you’ will never be enough. Please keep praying for Yulia’s recovery and for this angel who saved her, J.J.”
Chrissy extended an invitation for J.J. to reach out to the family if he ever wanted.
Related: Mother Of Unvaccinated Girl Denied Kidney Transplant By Duke Says Daughter Has Secured Kidney