This is Hazel Niemitalo. Go ahead and take a second to stare in awe at her cuteness. We’ll wait.
This girl is ready for #surgery. She will be going back very shortly to recieve a new #kidney #kidneyforhazel #life. Please sigh #prayers for the surgical teams and for the amazing woman giving one of her kidneys to our princess, for Mommy and myself and of course for #Hazel. #blessed #thankful #kidneytransplant #cantwrapmymindaroundwhatshappeningtoday
Hazel’s dad, Kenny, is an American Ninja Warrior who made it to the Atlanta City Finals in season eight. While on the show, he shared Hazel’s story.
Hazel was born on April 4, 2015. At less than two weeks old, she began having seizures. Little Hazel was diagnosed with Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome of Finnish Type, which is a kidney disease that has no cure other than a donor transplant.
Since Hazel was so young, she would need to grow to at least 22 pounds to gain strength and make room in her body to minimize risks for the surgeries needed to remove both kidneys and receive an adult kidney.
A living kidney donor would need to be found.
Posted by Kidney for Hazel on Thursday, September 1, 2016
Guess what?!? A donor was found!
Hazel's donor, Amy, found the family through watching the Atlanta episode of American Ninja Warrior.
After waiting over 20 months for everything to come together, Kenny, his wife Maria, and Hazel were able to get the process for surgery started.
On November 11, 2016, Hazel had both kidneys removed and was placed on dialysis.
Hazel's surgery was very successful. Both of the surgeons said it went as good as they could've hoped for. Thanking God...Posted by Kidney for Hazel on Friday, November 11, 2016
Which Hazel handled like a champ!
What getting both kidneys removed looks likePosted by Kidney for Hazel on Tuesday, November 15, 2016
On December 11, the family found out Hazel’s transplant surgery would need to be postponed since Hazel had a cold. They worried they’d have to wait until January to reschedule to surgery.
But just in time for Christmas, they were cleared for surgery to take place on December 20.
Hazel got to meet her donor in person on December 19, 2016.
Posted by Kidney for Hazel on Friday, December 23, 2016
AMY IS THE COOLEST.
Surgery for Hazel and her donor Amy happened on December 20.
Hazel woke up with new kidney and a big kiss for dad! (We’re not crying. You’re crying.)
Over the moon for my good buddy @kennyniemitalo and his wife @mmn716 -- their tiny daughter Hazel woke up with a NEW KIDNEY today! And Hazel's donor found them by watching their family's story run during our Atlanta Qualifier of @nbcninjawarrior this past season! @anwnation #AmericanNinjaWarrior #NinjaWarrior #V12 #NCNinja #KidneyTransplant #organdonation #KidneyForHazel
So cool. So collected.
Funny little attitude firmly intact!
Ready for this? Hazel is doing so well that the whole family got to go HOME on December 27!
We're home! 46 days later❤ God is good!Posted by Kidney for Hazel on Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Hazel will need to visit the hospital every two days for labs and check ups. Currently she’s on 13 different medications for the next year, some of which she’ll be on for life.
But right now, her dad Kenny says, “Normal-ish life is the name of this next chapter as we will be able to travel for the first time in her life.”
World, meet Hazel, the little Ninja Warrior, who at less than two years old, already says, “Yeah, I got this” when faced with obstacles.
To follow Hazel’s journey, join the Facebook group here. You can also follow her dad Kenny on Instagram for more adorable pictures.
Here she is dancing. Try not to scream out loud with joy. You’ll scare the neighbors.
This is so cute i had to post it on here tooPosted by Kidney for Hazel on Thursday, December 15, 2016