By SYDNEY LUPKIN (@slupkin)
Aug. 7, 2013
Sarah Murnaghan celebrated her 11th birthday Wednesday in a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia playroom, where she saw her siblings and cousins for the first time since she underwent two double-lung transplants in June.
“Sarah had a fabulous 11th birthday with her family,” her mother, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday evening after the party. “She is exhausted and off to sleep already, but I was so pleased she was really able to last a good long while energy wise.”
See Sarah blow a kiss and wave for the camera on July 4.
Sarah, who was dying of cystic fibrosis in June, was able to undergo the transplants because her parents successfully fought a rule that prevented her from qualifying for adult lungs, but the road to recovery has been rocky.
Young Lung Transplant Girl Waves, Blows a Kiss Watch Video
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Read about how “things quickly spiraled out of control” for the Murnaghans before they got better.
Sarah has, however, moved out of the intensive care unit and is working on physical therapy.
Sarah and her adopted sister, Ella, told their mother they wanted to share a bedroom when Sarah gets home, Murnaghan wrote on her Facebook page. She also posted dozens of photos of Sarah wearing various party hats, blowing into a noise-maker (with new lungs!) and cuddling her siblings.
Janet Murnaghan started a Change.org petition around Memorial Day, calling attention to what would become known as the Under 12 Rule, which said that even though Sarah would be given priority when pediatric lungs became available, adult lungs would have to be offered to adult matches in her region before they could be offered to her.
On June 5, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the rule for Sarah. By June 10, the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network re-evaluated the Under 12 Rule and decided to keep it but created a mechanism for exceptions, depending on the case.
Read more about the transplant-policy review.