It is not everyday that you meet somebody who will change your life forever.
In fact, many are not so fortunate to even meet friends that will change and mold them into a better person. I, however, have been one of the lucky ones. I can proudly say I have been changed for the better because of someone I know. I couldn’t help but be changed---once you know my friend Mallory, you, too, will find yourself transformed.  Mallory is the kind of person that has an attitude and a presence that lights up a room. I knew that I could count on Mallory my freshman and sophomore years to cheer me up when I was having a bad day by cracking a joke or drawing a perfect sketch of “Elvis the Pelvis” while belting out made-up songs about me to boost my spirits. I always thought it was the cheerleader in her that made her so peppy and upbeat, but as time has gone on and I’ve gotten to know her better I realize—that is just how God made her. She is truly the nicest person you will ever meet-caring, compassionate, down-to-earth, intelligent, witty, brave and forgiving are just a few of the hundreds of adjectives that could be used to describe Mallory. It is these particular traits that she possesses that have helped people far more than she knows.


Mallory is too humble to realize how many people truly love her and how many people she makes happy each and every day simply by being herself. I’ve told her before and I’ll say it again now—she is one the reasons I am here today. Without my friend Mallory I feel sure that I would have lost hope long ago in my battle with a chronic illness. I’ve always wanted to repay my dear friend, Mal, but I just never knew how. But now, I have a chance, WE have a chance, to help Mallory and the Smith family.
            Prior to Mallory’s liver transplant on July 17, 2006, she was working part-time at a local Chick-Fil-A, training with her competition and football cheerleading squads, and preparing for school to start back at Kennesaw Mountain in August. As a rising senior at Kennesaw Mountain in Kennesaw, GA, Mallory had already begun planning for the exciting year ahead of her. Taking senior portraits, preparing for her honors courses, and working to save money to go to school at the University of Alabama in the fall of 2007 were all on her “to-do list” prior to being admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
Mallory has sustained a spotless academic, as well as conduct, record throughout all three years of high school---never having made a “B” in her life Mallory is a member of the Gold Honor Roll at KMHS, in addition to the National Honor Society. It seems that no matter what Mallory does, she excels. In addition to being a member of the Varsity Football and Competition Cheerleading Squad for all four years of high school, she was also a member of the Georgia All-Stars for six years. Along with cheering, Mallory has a passion for art and was placed in the National Art Honor Society her freshman year. But even with all these activities and a rigorous academic schedule Mallory still finds time to give back to her community—volunteering to spend a semester with the RISE Program at KMHS, assisting in elementary schools close to home and teaching children every summer at Kennesaw’s Little Cheer Camp.

It was on July 12, 2006, that Mallory’s plans for the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year were drastically altered.
On the 12th Mallory was admitted to Kennestone Hospital for a multitude of symptoms and ailments—abdominal pain, nausea, and abnormal lab work. Here they discovered Mallory was suffering from a severe illness known as Wilson’s disease. Wilson’s often times presents with no symptoms until it is too late to treat and a liver transplant is needed. Essentially, a person with Wilson’s disease retains too much copper within their body. The liver does not release copper into bile as it should (Bile is extremely important because it is a special liquid produced by the liver that helps with digestion). As the intestines absorb copper from food, the copper builds up in the liver and severely injures the liver tissue. Eventually, this damage causes the liver to release the copper directly in the blood stream which then carries the copper throughout the entire body—this is why often times individuals with Wilson’s disease can have damage not only to the liver, but also to the kidney’s, brain, and eyes.

After the initial diagnosis, Mallory and her family were transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. It was here they were greeted by a team of doctors who explained that Mallory was in urgent need of a new liver. Mallory’s liver was so badly damaged that a liver transplant was the doctor’s only option. On July 13, Mallory was placed on the top of the UNOS transplant list. By the 15th, she was at the number one spot on the transplant waiting list of four southeastern states. As time progressed Mallory became more ill. Because of her status on the organ transplant lists she was only allowed minimal nausea and pain medications, therefore she was forced to simply wait it out. At 12:05 AM on July 17, 2006, Mike and Lisa Smith were informed that their daughter, Mallory, would be receiving a donated liver within the next seven hours. Preparation for the major surgery began and everyone waited anxiously for the transplant to be successfully completed. At 4:00 PM on the 17th, Mallory was wheeled back into the ICU at Egleston—a whole two hours before the approximated finish. Doctor’s were obviously amazed at the way in which Mallory’s young body held up under the transplant and even more surprised when they were able to take her off the ventilator only the morning after surgery.

Mallory Smith can now honestly say she is a survivor. 144 Hours, 1 liver, and 22 units of blood later, Mallory can claim the title of survivor—but not only can she claim that, she can once again reclaim her active life. But it is here in the reclaiming of Mallory’s young life that she needs even more help. The cost of an organ transplant is extremely high, not only because of the actual medical procedure itself, but the extended care and medication that the new organ needs. Not only does Mallory wish to graduate on time with her class this year, but upon graduation she dreams of attending the University of Alabama to perhaps pursue a career in the medical field. To be able to do this Mallory and her family need assistance in obtaining and paying for the extensive medical care that Mallory and her new liver will require. As a healthy and vibrant young woman she was the last one anyone would have thought to have needed a liver transplant. Mallory’s mother Lisa says “You’ll never think this will happen to you or your family. All I can say is become an organ donor—it is because of somebody else’s decision to become one that my baby is alive today.” I believe it is now that we as a community must come together to help our friend Mallory and her family in their time of need. I hope after reading this background on Mallory you will consider donating to Mallory’s medical fund to assist in paying for the treatment she needs. Mallory has such an incredible future ahead of her—one filled with college, career, marriage, and children. It is here we can all help her reach her goals in life. Thank you for your time, consideration, and compassion.
---Lauren Hughes