Arizona teen in need of life-saving transplant; community steps in to raise money for expenses

A Buckeye teen is in dire need of life-saving organ transplant, but thanks to help from the community, Zaleya Hart is getting closer to receiving the kidney that she needs.

Zaleya turned 15 on June 28. In January, she was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.

"She had been sick for the month of December," said Zaleya's mother, Deborah Hart. "She was throwing up. When we took her into the hospital, her blood pressure was 180/120. When they ran labs the following day, they called and said 'please rush her to the emergency room. Don't let her go to sleep.'"

Doctors told Deborah that her daughter was likely born with kidney disease. Deborah said after Zaleya's diagnosis, she spent weeks in the ICU. Nowadays, she undergoes nine hours of treatment, at home, everyday.

"She’s in end-stage renal failure, which means that she's at the end," said Deborah. "She will need a kidney transplant soon."

The transplant team at Phoenix Children's Hospital in Phoenix recommends a life-saving kidney transplant. A life-saving transplant often costs more than $800,000, and the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA), a national 501(c)3 charity that is dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses, is stepping in. Now, Buckeye volunteers are raising $35,000 for COTA to assist with transplant-related expenses for Zaleya.

"Even if you can just share and spread the story, the website," said Karyn Hemphill. "We will be having a social media page put up to follow Zaleya's journey."

COTA for Team Zaleya