For an outsider looking in, 17-year-old Kirsten Mock's life is anything but "normal”.
Kirsten was born with many complex birth defects in her lower body.
In her 17 short years of life, she's already had upwards of 30 surgeries, and now, she's in need of another:a kidney transplant.
Aside from her many health issues, she was actually only born with one kidney to begin with.
A kidney, in which she had to have replaced 10 years ago.
"I got the first transplant in '07 and I got that kidney from Dad and then over the summer, this kidney failed,” explained Kirsten.
Kirsten and her mom drive from Harmony to Rochester, three times a week, for dialysis treatments.
"It affects everything, from our family time, to getting homework done, keeping up with the house and the yard,” said Kirsten's mom, Kathie.
Kirsten even has to leave school early and miss her final class of the day on days she has her treatment.
Despite needing a new kidney, having a non-functioning bladder, a colostomy bag, and a port in her chest for medications, Kirsten strives to live life to the fullest.
She's taken a particular liking to the arts.
"A whole bunch of different types of art and I play the violin,” said Kirsten, when I asked her what she does for fun.
A creative mind and gentle soul, Kirsten's love of the arts and animals seeps through her work.
"We put stuffing around the armature and then we put faux fur over that so the body and the legs are basically like a stuffed animal,” said Kirsten, as she showed off one of her animal sculptures she has taken a keen liking to making.
Kirsten's siblings, twin sister Emily and younger brother Aaron, say home life is pretty typical.
"They argue about math. A lot,” said Aaron.
But other times, can be tough.
"It's mostly homework and then chores and then dinner for the days that she's home and if she's not home, then it's just us two home,” said Emily.
Though Kirsten's a twin, her medical issues stunted her growth, so she doesn't look much like her sister.
"Being twins is special, but I care for her more than I think other twins would because of her health issues,” shared Emily.
Though it may not be that "normal" teenage life, it's what's "normal" for the Mocks.
A normalcy that has now shifted focus on getting a kidney for Kirsten.
“She's more of a rare blood type, she's B-positive, so only someone with B-positive or O-negative can be a direct donor but they also have a paired kidney program. It's kind of hard to explain, to get people to understand it, but if we have a donor for her and they don't match and someone else is in the same situation, but their donor matches her and her donor matches them, then the kidney is swapped,” explained Kathie.
Despite all of the hardships, Kirsten remains steadfast and strong.
"It's hard to watch, but she's my hero. She never complains, she never cries about it. She just troops on, everyday," said Kathie.
Kirsten, a real life hero, who needs a hero of her own more than ever.
Kirsten's community and family are rallying around her, in order to raise awareness of the need and to help raise funds.
The "A Kidney for Kirsten" Awareness Benefit will be on March 31st at 5:30 p.m. in the Harmony Community Center.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and 3 & under are free, and they can be bought at the door.
There will be entertainment from “Danger Committee”, a knife throwing, fire juggling, comedy act from the Twin Cities.
The group tours the country with their act and have even been on America's Got Talent.
And of course, there will be raffles and a silent auction.
First prize of the raffle will be a golf cart, second prize is $1000, and third and fourth place prizes will be $300.
And, some items up for the silent auction will actually be some of the Mock children's artwork and sculptures!
Dinner includes pork chops and turkey legs on a stick, along with sides.
All proceeds will help Kirsten's medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance, and to help with the cost of her going from Harmony to Rochester three times a week for dialysis.
If you want to learn more on how to “share your spare” (spare kidney, that is), call the Mayo Transplant Coordinator at 866-249-1648 or follow Kirsten's story on Facebook at “A Kidney for Kirsten”.