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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Everyone has a story: Jessica Hahn

Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Jessica Hahn, a senior majoring in journalism, relates the hardships her sister Kristin faced with kidney failure and Steven Johnsons Syndrome, and how she supported her sister through it.
Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Jessica Hahn, a senior majoring in journalism, relates the hardships her sister Kristin faced with kidney failure and Steven Johnson’s Syndrome, and how she supported her sister through it.

“”Everyone has a story”” is a weekly segment in the Arizona Daily Wildcat that aims to tell the story of an interesting person on the UA campus. This week, the Daily Wildcat interviewed Jessica Hahn, a journalism senior whose 23-year-old sister Kristin was diagnosed with kidney failure in August 2008. The family will be holding a fundraiser to raise money for Kristin’s kidney transplant.

Doctors have no idea how or why Kristin Hahn’s kidneys failed.

“”What was odd about my sister Kristin’s situation was that this sickness doesn’t run in our family at all,”” Jessica Hahn said.

While doctors were operating on her ankle, they noticed gout, a buildup of uric acid in the blood that crystallizes in the joints of the feet. Gout is also a sign of underlying kidney issues, so Kristin Hahn was tested for and subsequently diagnosed with kidney failure.

Kristin Hahn has been waiting for a kidney transplant since August 2008 to no avail.

“”I’ve asked her what her kidney failure is like, and she says it hasn’t changed her very much,”” said Jessica Hahn. “”She’s fighting, working a full-time job at Walgreens.””

Though Kristin Hahn’s kidneys are only about 13-percent functional, she tries to live as if she doesn’t have any health problems.

“”She should be bedbound, but she’s up, going to work every day, going to parties, playing with my one-year-old son. She’s your average 23-year-old with a minor side effect,”” said Jessica Hahn.

Kristin Hahn must maintain a diet low in potassium and dairy. She’s also on several medications and takes shots every month.

Life isn’t always easy for the Hahn family.

“”One day, she was taking a medication that was high in iron, and one of the side effects it gave Kristin was Stevens-Johnson Syndrome,”” said Jessica Hahn.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a life-threatening condition in which the skin dries out and flakes off the body.

“”What was sadder was that she walked into the hospital and said she had Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and she was told to have a seat. She said to them, ‘You realize I can die from this, right?’ and was still instructed to stay in the waiting room. If they’d taken an hour longer to get her in the see a doctor, she could have died,”” said Jessica Hahn.

Jessica Hahn praises and admires her sister for enduring kidney failure.

“”The fact that she’s still going is amazing to a lot of people. There are times when I want to give up on a major or a class, and then I realize how silly it is to stress about failing a class while my sister is seriously ill and still going strong,”” said Jessica Hahn.

 

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