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A Struggle for Hope. Melissa’s Story …. Melissa Michele Clynes was born August 15, 1990 in St. Louis, Missouri with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

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A Struggle for Hope

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Melissa’s Story …


Melissa Michele Clynes was born August 15, 1990 in St. Louis, Missouri with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

She received a Heart Transplant at 10 days old at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She was the youngest in the nation at that time to receive a heart transplant.

Due to complications and her unique medical case, she endured a challenging 3-month hospital stay at Children’s Hospital.


She was tube fed for several years and struggled with multiple bouts of pneumonia and other viruses. Despite a childhood that required constant trips to Children’s, multiple tests, lab work and daily medications, she never complained and enjoyed the most of every day.

She eventually endured kidney failure that was complicated by the anti-rejection medications.


At age 16, she received a live Kidney Transplant, donated by her mother. Melissa began to finally feel healthy and her hope for a normal future was in sight.

Shortly thereafter, a virus attacked that kidney and destroyed it.

The news she thought she would never hear, came…

“We were unsuccessful to save Melissa’s kidney; another kidney transplant would be needed”


At age 18, in full kidney failure; she began dialysis for another 9 months. Melissa was determined to reach her goal of graduating from college.

Despite medical and physical difficulties related to dialysis, and daily pain and exhaustion, Melissa persevered and successfully completed one semester of college as an above average student, but had to drop out after completing half of each of the following two consecutive semesters.


Many efforts helped support finding Melissa a kidney and respite for her waiting…

Thank you for participating

in Melissa’s Adventure!

Melissa is a 19-year-old girl waiting patiently for a kidney transplant. This fun evening provides her with a special night out as a reprieve from her daily medical routines. She is the former recipient of both a heart and kidney transplant. The numerous medications she takes daily, together with a recent virus that attacked her donated kidney has resulted in the need for a new, live-donor kidney. While Melissa is on a waiting list, she receives dialysis treatments three times a week, which puts great strain on her body and complicates her daily living. This night out with her family provides a respite to her daily struggle with living. Thank you for helping to make this night special for her.



Melissa’s mother surfed the internet and found a website featuring Garet Hil, Founder, National Kidney Registry. She was put in contact with Dr. Milner, Kidney Transplant Surgeon atLoyola University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

Through the Pay-it-Forward Live Kidney Donor Program, a live donor was quickly found as a near-perfect match.

“The National Kidney Registry with the support of physicians, Friends & Family as well as God’s intervention & healing made this restoration possible for Melissa.”

Cheryl Clynes, Melissa’s aunt

Garet Hil, founder

National Kidney Registry

celebration of new life
Celebration of New Life

With the donation of a live kidney by Cynthia, 22 from Chicago, IL and surgeon, Dr. Milner & his medical team, Melissa’s hope was restored on March 29, 2010 at Loyola University Medical Center.

At that time she was 19 years old.

“Melissa is doing great! The kidney started functioning immediately after the transplant. She is recovering fine and is being discharged this week.”

Mary Clynes, Melissa’smother (March 2010)

Melissa at Indian Creek Park, St. Charles County, MO, May 2010

pay it forward kidney live donor program
Pay–it–ForwardKidney live donor program

2010 Facts:

  • 82,000 on dialysis in the U.S. alone
  • Need live donors; usually no family match
  • National Kidney Registry capable to quickly match recipient to donor
  • In gratitude, recipient’s family member becomes live donor; pays it forward
  • Chain continues for multiple healing across the nation

82,000 recipients CAN ALL receive kidneys

within 6 months!

Melissa with cousin, Stefanie Clynes, in May 2010,

just a few weeks after her live kidney transplant.

Today, they attend school together at Webster

University in St. Louis, Missouri.


Hope restored!

After Melissa received her kidney, her sister Sarah became a live kidney donor.

Sarah was part of a history-making, 22-chain of donors giving HOPE to 22

kidney recipients who now enjoy the fullness of life!

This hope was delivered on August 25, 2010 – 20 years to the day that

Melissa received her heart transplant! Amazing enough, but still part of God’s

sovereign plan of Restoration…

… and


Melissa and Sarah