Kara Snyder is feisty, scrappy, athletic, bright and articulate.
She enjoys making life difficult for her little brother, doesn't drive her parents batty like most teens do and loves her trusty dog, Hank.
Have I mentioned she is feisty?
Today, Kara, of Milan, a bundle of "it's on'' energy, is on the active transplant list nationally in search of a operational kidney and donor.
A few weeks back, the outwardly healthy on all fronts 14 year-old developed severe pain in her side and was taken to the emergency room at a Quad-Cities-based medical center.
Identifying a larger, life-threatening issue, local doctors had Kara transferred to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center at Peoria, where it was determined both kidneys were failing.
Doctors determined her kidneys had stopped growing around age 4 and would soon be unable to function. Kara, they concluded, is suffering from kidney (renal) dysplasia and needs a transplant.
It is the same condition Sara Hyland, one of the stars of the television sitcom "Modern Family," suffers from. Hyland has undergone a kidney transplant twice.
The mind-boggler is Kara showed no symptoms of kidney failure.
"A shock like no other,'' said Terri Law, Kara's aunt. Law is assisting Jenny and Mark Snyder, Kara's parents, so the two can sort through the myriad of health-related options that stand before the family and coordinate health-status trips to Peoria.
"You have this little bundle of energy — I mean involved in sports and everything — who does all the things you would expect from someone as feisty as her,'' Law said. "And healthy, active and always in great spirits. Now this. It came out of right field.''
A freshman-to-be at Rock Island High School, Kara will undergo a bevy of tests while on the transplant list, hoping to find a donor in the next six months. If a healthy donor match is not completed or an organ cannot be harvested from a deceased donor, dialysis will be next for Kara.
"Lots of challenges ahead,'' Law said, sharing the number (309-624-5433) for those interested in becoming a living donor. "But people have been so supportive through this. Some folks have already called.
"It's an amazing process and a true unselfish and kind act,'' added Law, a 24-karat gem herself. "It makes you realize how wonderful and giving people are. It takes courage to even check the box on your driver's license — which I hope people do — but to go through the process of being a living donor is amazing as well. The response has been heart-warming.''
Law says a GoFund me donation site (https://www.gofundme.com/f/kidney-for-kara) has been set to help offset travel and costs not covered by insurance for the Snyders.
"We are at about $7,000 of the $10,000 goal,'' she said. "It's hard on everyone and this will help handle some of the extra costs. People have been gracious and they have been generous. They realize what's a stake and have been willing to help.''
"Feisty,'' Law said.
Of course she is.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309-757-8388 or email@example.com.