Katie is alive, thanks to an amazing act of humankindness and a kidney donation

Katie Grannan and her kidney donor, Amy Sperry.

Katie Grannan was an energetic 10-year-old when a sports physical detected a rare autoimmune disease was destroying her kidneys. By the time she was a senior at Northern Arizona University, she could barely leave her bed—no longer able to keep up her busy school schedule, work and exercise classes.

In July 2014, Katie’s doctor told her she would need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Her parents were devastated to learn they weren’t a match for organ donation.

“Katie was going downhill fast,” says her mother, Janelle. “We were racing against the clock. It was the scariest time of my life.”

Desperate to save her only child, Janelle posted a plea on Facebook. She was surprised to receive several responses in a short time, including one from family acquaintance and former neighbor Amy Sperry, who tested positive as a donor match.

Just before the holidays in 2015, Amy donated a kidney to Katie, giving lifesaving function to the two poorly functioning kidneys that remain in Katie’s body.

“Amy is our angel,” says Janelle. “Because of Amy, I have my daughter back.”

“This experience has changed my life,” says Amy. “What a blessing it is to give someone another chance to live!”

With the help of generous benefactors, St. Joseph’s continues to expand services to improve the lives of countless transplant patients. While Katie was one of the first patients at the hospital to undergo kidney transplant, in 2022 the Norton transplant center achieved its 100th transplant milestone, and it continues to strive to meet the ever-growing need for these services in our state.