HILLSDALE, N.J. -- You'd never know from watching 14-year-old Hailey Juillet of Hillsdale play tennis that at one point in her life, she could barely lift a racquet.
She was seven when she was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a serious autoimmune disease which blocks and damages bile ducts in and around the liver.
Complications include extreme exhaustion, constant stomach pain as a result of an enlarged spleen and jaundice.
On June 29, 2016, Hailey, who started tennis lessons when she was eight, underwent a life-saving liver transplant at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital.
Her mom, Christine, donated a portion of her own liver. Dr. Marcello Fasciutto was Christine’s donor surgeon and Dr. Sander Florman, Director of the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai, was Hailey’s recipient surgeon.
The transplant was timed around making the tryouts for the high school tennis team and not missing school. As fate would have it, the tryouts were eight weeks after her surgery; she got cleared one day before they started.
Cue the "Rocky" music: She made the team, playing JV doubles for the season (August to October). And now, pardon the pun, is in full swing, playing every week, with some sessions lasting five hours.
She plays the sport year round -- at summer tennis camp, at her high school, and at the Haworth Country Club during the off-season.
Now Hailey's concentrated on her short- and long-term goals: to make the Varsity tennis team as a sophomore and to receive a tennis scholarship to her mom’s alma mater, Villanova University.
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