It’s saddening how children and teenagers are robbed of their youth due to illnesses. They live a different life from other kids — not being able to play like they should to avoid overworking their bodies. Instead of experiencing school and having classmates and friends, they are forced to stay in hospitals. No kid or even adult deserves to be stuck in one place — trying to wave off the desire to have a normal life. For this reason, a support system is vital because severe diseases affect the body and the mind. Parents should always let their child feel their presence and love. It’s never easy to face such trials at a young age — like a heartbreak from discovering that their dreams might not turn into reality.
Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive Disease, or PVOD, played the role of a thief in Katie Hoskins’s life. At age 15, the veins transporting oxygen from the lungs to the heart had a blockage that required a lung transplant. Doctors informed her family that there was no available cure for the disease and that Katie’s condition might worsen over time. It was terrifying news, especially when there was no assurance that Katie would be listed as a lung recipient. Katie’s parents found it difficult to explain to a teenager that the disease might not just steal her youth but also her life. “When she finally did, in that moment, understand, she looked at us and said, ‘I’m going to die.’ And we all started crying,” Katie’s mom shared.
While the family was trying to hold on to a bit of hope, they were also in contact with Texas Children’s Hospital. Katie was evaluated so she could be listed as a lung recipient. The 15-year-old girl was transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital and was put on the waiting list. “Ten days after she was on the list, we got the call that they had some lungs for her. We’re about two months post-op right now. We don’t know anything about the donor, but I would hope that someday the donor family who lost a loved one could get to hear her sing with those lungs,” Katie’s mom said during an interview with Good Morning America.
Apparently, Katie wasn’t just given a second chance in life but also in pursuing her talent for singing. “All the doctors are pretty sure singing saved my life. Because I knew how to breathe,” Katie said. Aside from taking medications and doctor appointments, she’s attending voice lessons. The lungs were successfully working, which allowed her to sing well. Her passion for music since she was seven years old can still be pursued with the time given to her. “Now, after transplant and everything and hearing her sing again and hearing the passion that she has for playing the piano and the ukulele, and it gives you a heart that you really, really want to give her as much as you possibly can,” her dad said.
The fifteen-year-old girl aims to live life to the fullest and be there for her loved ones as long as possible. Apparently, lung recipients have a life expectancy of seven to eight years. Despite the limited time she was informed of, Katie tries to stay positive, and, thankfully, she’s surrounded by her support system. She continues to inspire her family and others who have watched her story. Katie is gatekeeping the hope that was once stolen from her. Family, friends, and music will be her strength — she’ll never live in a bubble again.