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Virginia girl grateful for 'second chance' this Thanksgiving

Mya: 'I just have a lot of people and things to be thankful for'
Posted at 11:46 PM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 23:58:57-05

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A Hanover County family is grateful for the gift of life this Thanksgiving after another family's sacrifice brought their daughter home for the holidays.

Mya Santini, who was featured in a “Wayne's World” report in October and recently underwent a second liver transplant, is happy to be home after spending 16 days in the hospital.

"I just have a lot of people and things to be thankful for this year," Mya said. "They gave me a second chance."

The 15-year-old is thankful to strangers she hopes to meet one day.

"Once I found out it was a deceased donor, I wanted to meet the family," Mya said. "I just want to say thank you and like tell them how much I appreciate that my second chance was given to me by their family member.”

When Mya was four years old, her mother donated part of her liver to her daughter. But a few months ago, that transplant began to fail.

Mya's family got the call on Nov. 7 that a donor liver was available.

By the next day, Mya checked into the hospital, underwent an eight-hour surgery and then another procedure two days later. Mya spent 16 days recovering at VCU Medical Center.

She got to come home just in time for Thanksgiving.

"This one is a lot more special this year, because Mya just came home from the hospital from having the second liver transplant, so obviously a lot more is on our table this year,” Mya's father, Roger Santini, said.

While the Santini family is thankful, they are keenly aware of another family's loss.

"Unfortunately, they're mourning the loss of a loved one,” Bridgett Santini said. “But I would, I want to be able to express my gratitude to them for that member being a donor and saving my kid's life again."

The family said they are thankful for their support system of family and friends, which Mya's mom said was the “backbone” of how they made it through.

They are also thankful for the dedicated doctors and nurses as well as the blessing of the gift.

"Be an organ donor,” pleaded Bridgett Santini.

Mya said she will also be forever grateful.

"A lot of people don't get what I get and a lot of people don't, don't make it through some of the stuff that I've been through,” Mya said. “[It] just makes me appreciate it a lot more and appreciate life a lot more."

Mya is taking 29 pills a day, but is hopeful that number will be reduced over the coming months.

The teen said the transplant is already making her feel better. And while she cannot leave the house, she agrees there is no place like home.