Quinn RobertsPOSTED BY: JULIE WOLFE 11Alive.com
Seven-year-old Quinn Roberts loves playing Barbies. "This one is my favorite!" she declares with a gapped-tooth smile.
This year, she didn't ask Santa for dolls... or any other toys. She asked for a kidney.
"Dear Santa," she reads. "Ok Santa. I will be good. Yesterday, I went to the kidney doctor. I did not get a kidney."
Quinn's mom Julia found the rumpled note in a school backpack. "I thought it was charming and heartbreaking at the same time," Julia said.
Quinn has Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). PKD is a life-threatening genetic kidney disease affecting 600,000 Americans. It causes cysts to grow on the kidneys, often leading to kidney failure. There is no cure.
Quinn will need a transplant, probably within the next year. Her older brother, Gage, also has PKD. In March 2007, he received a kidney transplant after months of dialysis.
Quinn knows what's coming. She hopes Santa can help.
"Why did you ask Santa for a kidney?" 11Alive's Julie Wolfe asked.
"Well, I need a kidney," she replied with shrug.
Quinn was diagnosed when she was two days old. She's always known she was sick. There's nothing unusual about the small paper plates organizing her nightly medication. It's just past the plate of Christmas cookies for Santa.
The Roberts credit the PKD Foundation for helping them navigate through the blizzard of specialty doctors, insurance policies, and new medications.
"It's very complicated," Julian Roberts says. "It's a lot of sleepless nights. It's a lot of tears. It's a lot of anger as you deal with this process."
This Christmas, that letter to Santa reminds them what they're fighting for: a healthy kidney for Quinn.
"She just wants to live her life as a little girl," Julian says.
Julia Roberts writes a daily blog about her family's struggle with PKD. Click here to read it.
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