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Help sought for ailing teenager
Born with rare disorder, girl needs new kidney
Ashlyn Poss
Ashlyn Poss, 17, is in dire need of a kidney transplant. Her family is accepting donations for medical expenses. - photo by For the Forsyth County News
How to help

Donations to the Ashlyn Rose Poss Medical Expense Trust can be made at any SunTrust bank branch.
The family of the 17-year-old daughter of a veteran public safety officer is hoping the community will come to her aid as she seeks an organ transplant.

Ashlyn Poss, daughter of James Poss of Cumming and Lara Poss of Gainesville, is in dire need of a kidney transplant as she battles an acute and rare genetic disease.

Ashlyn is one of only two young people in the state with Joubert Syndrome with a Dandy Walker variant.

Her mother explained that the genetic disorder can cause an array of problems since it basically “messes up” the organs of the body as they are developing.

“So she was born with only one working kidney and an open cyst on her brain,” Lara Poss said. “Luckily, the fluid in the cyst has never caused too much pressure on her brain. The main problem is the kidney.”

A fund has been set up at SunTrust to help the family raise money needed to help cover the costs of anti-rejection medications associated with a transplant.

The family hopes to raise at least $10,000. So far the fund has brought in nearly $3,000.

“The $10,000 is to ensure that a family has funding to pay for the medications prior to the transplant,” Lara Poss explained. “These drugs are very expensive and most insurance companies have a cap on them.

“Before [the hospital will] do this transplant, they want to make sure a family has funding to cover the drugs at least for a while.”

James Poss has spent more than 25 years in public safety, including five years with Cumming police. He is currently an emergency medical technician training to become a paramedic.

He said the community’s generosity means a “great deal” to him.

“I’m not one to ask for anything from anybody, but there’s just no way I would be able to come up with $10,000 to just stick in the bank,” he said. “[My gratitude to the community] would be so heartfelt.”

Ashlyn’s kidney had apparently been failing for some time, though doctors weren’t aware of the problem until a hospital stay in October. The symptoms of kidney failure often mimic other problems, her mother said.

Since then the family has been working to get Ashlyn on the organ donor list through Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“We’re still just in the early stages of all the paperwork and everything right now,” said Lara Poss, who believes her daughter will overcome this challenge as she has others throughout her life.

“She’s overcome almost all the obstacles put in front of her,” she said. “When she was born, the doctors said she would never walk or talk. But she doesn’t walk and talk, she runs and screams just like every other 17-year-old girl.

“I couldn’t even put into words what it would mean to see her healthy and well again.”