How a Teen's Nosebleed Saved Her Parents
In fact, it saved the teen herself, too
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2015 4:07 PM CDT
Stock photo   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It had to be the luckiest, and most lifesaving, nosebleed in the world. As KTVT reports, it befell 14-year-old Crystal Enns of Wylie, Texas, in 2013. Her parents took her to the doctor when the bleeding wouldn't stop, which led to the diagnosis of a serious kidney disease called juvenile nephronophthisis. "This kidney disease doesn't get better," one of Crystal's doctors tells ABC News. "In mid- to late adolescence you either have ... to put her on dialysis or you have to [get her a] kidney transplant." The family opted for the transplant, and Mom Cristy stepped up first—but screening turned up a spot on her kidney that turned out to be cancer. Then dad Mark volunteered, but, incredibly, his screening turned up kidney cancer as well. Both were caught early enough for effective treatment, something that never would have happened if not for their daughter's illness.

"The idea is that we're going to go in and do something that can be lifesaving for our daughter, only to be told, 'This may have saved your life,' because I would never have been tested otherwise," says Mark. And there's good news about Crystal, too: Her aunt turned out to be a perfect match, and after successful surgery in April of this year, the now 17-year-old is headed back to high school with a healthy prognosis. The kicker to all this: It turns out that the original nosebleed had nothing to do with Crystal's kidney disease, reports CBS News. "It happened to be a red herring that allowed us to figure this out because of other symptoms at that time," says her doctor. (A mom spotted a symptom of a rare form of cancer after seeing a photo of her 2-year-old.)