Mattie’s Hope to find donor
Waupaca teen seeks kidney transplant
By Robert Cloud
Mattie Hope Barbea is looking for someone to donate a kidney.
The 17-year-old Waupaca High School senior has a genetic disorder called methylmalonic academia.
She was born with this disorder and her body cannot break down certain proteins and fats.
According to her Facebook page, the result is a build up of a substance called methylmalonic acid in the blood.
The disease can cause seizures and stroke.
At age 2, Mattie received a liver transplant.
Before the transplant, high levels of acid in Mattie’s system led to brain and organ damage despite everything Children’s Hospital was doing to keep it under control.
The liver transplant helped keep the acid levels stable, along with a strict regimen of dietary control, medications, formula and regular lab work.
Mattie’s medications keep her alive, but they are also causing further kidney damage.
The adopted daughter of James and Wendy Wagner Barbeau, Mattie has been on a kidney transplant registry for seven years.
James Barbeau said Mattie has been “bounced on and off” the active registry because her kidney function improved, “but it’s not going to improve anymore.”
He said Mattie has spent 20 days in the hospital over the past couple of months.
“Mentally, it’s taken a toll on Mattie,” Barbeau said. “Between covid and her kidney, she’s been out of school a lot.”
Three days a week, Mattie spends four to six hours undergoing dialysis treatment in Waupaca.
In addition to missing more time from school, Mattie suffers nausea and cramps after the dialysis.
As her condition becomes more serious, Mattie moves closer to the top of the list.
However, she needs to be healthy enough to undergo transplant surgery.
Barbeau said Froedtert Hospital is working with the family to find a kidney donation.
To learn more about donating a kidney, visit froedtert.com, click Services on the top navigation bar, scroll down the page to Featured Services, and then click Transplant.
People may also call 414-805-0310 and leave a message.
More information may also be found on the Mattie’s Hope Facebook page.