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'Modern Family' star Sarah Hyland contemplated suicide after her most recent health scare

San Jose Mercury News - 12/10/2018

Dec. 10--Sarah Hyland felt guilty that the kidney that had her father had donated to her for a transplant didn't take, and the idea of depending on another family member for a second organ transplant left her depressed and contemplating suicide.

Hyland, 28, opened up to Self about the recent physical and emotional struggles that led up to a second liver transplant last year. Her donor for the second transplant was her 23-year-old brother Ian Hyland.

"I was very depressed," said the "Modern Family" actress. "When a family member gives you a second chance at life, and it fails, it almost feels like it's your fault. It's not. But it does."

Hyland, who identifies herself as a control freak and micromanager, told the publication that she didn't want to be a burden to her loved ones.

"For a long time, I was contemplating suicide, because I didn't want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad," she said.

Hyland was born with kidney dysplasia, a condition in which cysts disrupt the kidneys from doing their job of filtering waste products out of blood. She suffered kidney failure and required a transplant in 2012.

But four years later, Hyland's body began to reject her father's donated kidney. She experienced fatigue, as well as frequent fevers and infections.

She took tests and tried treatments in an effort to save the kidney, spending months in the hospital. "Christmas break, New Year's, Thanksgiving, my birthday, all of that spent in the hospital."

Her doctors compared her transplanted kidney to a home that had caught on fire. And Hyland pointed out, "You can't un-burn a house."

Hyland began dialysis in February 2017, but it became clear that her donated kidney needed to be removed and that she would require a second transplant.

Her brother was identified as a match.

"When Sarah first told me that she would need a second transplant, the initial wave of fear was washed over by a sense of resolution," Ian Hyland told Self through an email. "I only cared about Sarah knowing that I had her back and that she was going to be OK."

But her brother's willingness to donate didn't alleviate Sarah Hyland's anxiety over a second failed transplant, and she was able only to get over her suicidal thoughts by reaching out to a compassionate friend.

"It's not shameful," she says. "For anybody that wants to reach out to somebody but doesn't really know how because they're too proud or they think that they'll be looked upon as weak, it's not a shameful thing to say. It's not a shameful thing to share."

Hyland underwent her second transplant in September 2017, and Self reported that she and her brother are both doing well.

"The recovery period is not easy, nor is it something anyone can fully prepare you for," Ian Hyland said.

"The entire notion of taking an organ outside of your body is, at best, intimidating,

" he added. "But if it saves the life of someone you care about, anything is worth it."

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(c)2018 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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