May 14th, 2012
02:05 PM ET

'Modern Family's' Sarah Hyland reveals kidney transplant

You wouldn't know it from her sunny (and often hilarious) disposition on red carpets, but "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland has been fighting kidney disease since she was a kid.

The 21-year-old actress revealed on "Good Morning America" Monday that she was diagnosed with abnormal kidney development at 9 years old, a health issue that left her fatigued.

"I would be in a lot of pain a lot of the time. If I didn't get, like, 12 hours of sleep, it felt like none at all," Hyland revealed. But being in the industry she's in, she had to push forward, accommodating by often sitting down during a scene to give her body a break.

"You know, if you're sick, you still go to work," she said. "And in between takes, you sit down, or you lay your head  down or something."

As the pain grew worse, Hyland sought an organ donor, and she found one close to home - it turns out her dad was a perfect match. The actress had transplant surgery in April and plans on recovering when "Modern Family" is on break this summer.

As she relayed to Seventeen magazine of the experience, it's shown her the strength of her support system, which also includes her co-star and  boyfriend, Matt Prokop.

"He helps me with my medication and takes me to doctor's appointments," she told the magazine in its new issue. "Any other 21-year-old guy would not be there, I guarantee it. I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have him be there for me."

And, it goes without saying, lucky to have her dad, too.

"You know that family is always going to be there for you - no matter what. My dad gave me a freakin' kidney!" she said. "I have a second chance at life; not a lot of people get that."

Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Sarah's mom

    I would like to thank everyone for sending the well wishes for our daughter. There isn't a day that goes by that we are so grateful that Ed's kidney was such a perfect match. My husband is our Hero! Living Donors are the best people out there. Consider living donation. You can live a very healthy long life with just one kidney.

    To those who don't understand, It isn't "rich" people who get moved to the top of the list, it is the person in the most need, regardless of wealth. Get educated about organ donation. Sarah was on a wait list, but we also had many family members screened to find the perfect match, and hence were able to avoid the agony of waiting at least 5-7 years.
    I pray everyday for those who are waiting for a transplant. Every day 18 people die waiting for a transplant. 18 people who needlessly died because they couldn't find a suitable match.

    Live your Life with Courage, it is the best path to Happiness

    May 26, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. jenn


    May 18, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
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    May 17, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
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    May 16, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. WMoonFox

    "Any other 21-year-old guy would not be there, I guarantee it."

    And that's why he wouldn't be there: you're a self-righteous faux-teenie-bopper who thinks she knows everything about everyone at the ripe old age of 21. That you're willing to "guarantee" what "any other guy" would do at all, much less at your age, speaks volumes about your own bias and pettiness.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bear

    Good Lord people, the article is about a sweet, young, hard working woman who has battled a serious medical condition nearly her whole life........and handled it very well.......props to her and her dad, and those around her who have helped her during her times of need. The show is great, and she's a trooper. I just gained much respect for her. Best wishes and health with the transplant.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Davey Jones

    Denise Richards is on Modern Family?

    May 15, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. George Cantstandya

    I do not wish anything bad on anyone. I would never organ donate. Organ donation is another area where there is a elitism. Rich and especially famous people are about 1000 x more likely to get an organ donated to them and move right to the front of the list.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      You would 'never' be an organ donor? Let's hope nobody in your family needs a kidney.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Your an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 15, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
    • EMcK

      Ummmm . . . did you read the article? The kidney came from HER FATHER.

      Are you saying you wouldn't donate a kidney to save your own child?

      May 15, 2012 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
    • JOhn in Arizona

      Your an Idiot....that being said, she is underestimating 21 year olds. I know a lot of people who would take their GF's to the doctors and help with medications, even when we were 21...she just doesn't know any nice people is all...

      May 15, 2012 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul232

      Yes, due to the shortage of organs, caused by thinking like yours....

      May 15, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      so step up and give a live donation to someone to deem worth of a gift of life.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Organ Donor

      I agree with you that it is difficult for most people to get organ, mostly because it is just so freakin expensive, however, in this case, it is not an issue of a rich person being moved to the front of the list. When someone donates an organ in this fashion, they are given the option of a person for whom the organ will go to. ANd when it is family, doing it, the organ will always go to a family member. Her dad gave her his kidney! This is not elitism, this is a father doing whatever he can to save the life of his daughter. Which even if she wasn't in a life threatening condition now, she would likely not live past 30 without a transplant. Which also goes to say that her father at that time might not be alive, or physically able to donate his kidney. So I congratulate her!

      May 15, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Really!

      If everyone donated organs there wouldn't be a shortage of organs available meaning there wouldn't be elitism with who gets the organs. Everyone should be an organ donor, one person can possibly save multiple lives and enrich the lives of dozens of others.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • BS

      I don't suppose you have any evidence to back up your claim, do you?

      May 15, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • BS

      Oops. My comment was directed at George, not at Really!. Weird formatting of the comments here.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ThatDCGuy

      OK, on lists... maybe.... not really, but i can see where you are coming from. THIS WAS DONTED BY HER FATHER. How is that elitism?

      May 15, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • GDP

      "....Organ donation is another area where there is a elitism. Rich and especially famous people are about 1000 x more likely to get an organ donated to them and move right to the front of the list."

      My cousin was a blue-collar worker who needed a heart transplant. Fortunately for him and for us, the family of the donor did not share your kind and generous sentiment. We were blessed with an additional 10 years following his heart transplant. He lived in an apartment, not a mansion.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • caitlin


      May 15, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • David Murray

      I have no problem with rich people moving to the front of the list. Organs are a rare thing and we can only help a small percentage of those that need it. So would we rather waste that precious resource on a street bum who is a drain on society, or a rich guy who contributes to society? Everything in between is just a gray area.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • jrod

      Yeah just disregard the fact that her FATHER gave the kidney. What an elitist jerk!

      May 15, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • citizenUSA

      I think Mr. Cantstandya would donate an organ to a family member or friend. He just means he would not leave an organ for others to decide on what to do with.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. conceptvbs

    Parents would give everything for their children, even their lives.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. bystander

    The latest good news is they have just found that they can transplant some immune cells from the donor of the kidney when they are transplanting the kidney. It will take up residence and the recipient of the new kidney will not have to be on
    the rejection drugs now all their lives. This is a big breakthrough. Now that we got rid of old George and tests can be done on stem cells so many things will be possible. thank God and medical science. My first husband died at 35 of kidney disease so I'm glad to see it is not like that anymore. See about those cells, Sarah, your dad is still around.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • NooYawkah

      Good old George didn't prevent stem cell research, he just refused to let the govt. pay for it. If it is economically lucrative then no govt. subsidies are needed. I'm not a supporter of any politician, but fair is fair.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • pccoder

      God? really. God had nothing to do with it. It was all science.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. chardaed

    Shouldn't the writer of this article at least note that Matt Prokrop is *not* her co-star from "Modern Family"? I had to google Sarah Hyland to find that out. Details, people.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      He was in one of the recent episodes, but yea, he's not a recurring role.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • anonCNN

      He did appear in one episode, but yes the article is misleading.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt

      Matt Prokop did guest star in the season finale of Modern Family "Disneyland." Maybe he will have a recurring role in the upcoming season

      May 15, 2012 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. puckles

    Funny that she thinks she is the only one in the world who would have a guy to stand by her side. There are plenty of 21 year old guys in committed relationships who would stand by their lady.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Aaron

    Best of luck and a speedy recovery. It's so true when you are sick you still have to work in this society. I hope that changes someday.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PantyRaid

    MMMmmm.... yes...YES!

    May 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MariaSanta I see why you post, Richard. You appear to be playing both sides of the fence to get attention. Just drop it. Wish this talented young woman the best with her health, and crawl back in your hole. I feel sorry that you feel the need to play that sad game. Don't you believe that people read your past posts? What is it about your life that makes you so hateful and angry?

    May 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  16. guesswho22

    "...gets new kidney"? She got a replacement, used kidney. When they start installing new organs, I got a few that I would like to have as well.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      new to her 😉
      just like cars if you buy a used car you still refer to it as a new car.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Dano558

      The kidney is new to her. Don't try to be so clever, you're embarrassing yourself.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  17. Peggy

    Best Wishes and with a perfect match from a family member the prospects are very good it will last a very long time. My sister had her transplant for over 25 years from another sister. Be positive!:)

    May 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Ricard Fore

    That sucks to have transplant so young. Now she'll be on immunosupression for the lifespan of that transplant, which lasts on average 10 years. Then she'll need to get on the list again for a 2nd, 3rd, etc. or dialysis. At least she doesn't have to deal with dialysis for the time being.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      Because she received a living organ, it will last longer 20-22 yrs rather than the 10-12 from a cadiver kidney. My son had his transplant at 19 and will be in the same situation that she is in but he will need another kidney in 8-10 yrs. It does suck to be on the immunosuppression med's for soooo long but it certain beats feeling horrible & tired all day because your kidneys aren't working. Congrat's to her on the new kidney, wonderful family support system & an awesome boyfriend. I wish her nothing but the best!!

      May 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chickaboom

      There are many variables to a successful kidney transplant. I've seen them last 30+ years (which is impressive considering the time in which they were transplanted), and others only a year. Compliance with medication, co-morbidities, blood type, antibodies, donor source and matching are all factors that can make or break a transplant. I think also getting a transplant before you actually have to start dialysis may give her an added benefit as well. I wish her all the best.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • davia55

      you obviously no nobody who has had a transplant. I totally changes their quailty of life. I don't think you mean immunosupression, I believe you mean anti rejection medication. Not to worry, it is worth it in the end. Try being ill everyday, then being given the gift of life.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • pixievixen

        So far all I've heard are comments from people who only know about transplants secondhand. Mind you, I've not quite read all the replies yet. However, being a kidney transplant recipient myself I feel I can square up a few things. Davia55, actually you and Terri are both correct, the anti rejection meds are immunosuppression drugs. The meds are referred to as anti rejection meds because they are designed to suppress the immune system so the body does not attack the new, foreign kidney in its system thus causing the body to reject the new organ. These meds must be taken everyday for the rest of the kidney's life. This is why we transplant recipients must take every precaution to keep from getting sick and staying as germ free as possible because our bodies cannot fight off just a simple little cold the same as most healthy people. To some, such as myself, a tiny cut could be the death of us. A transplant can be a second chance at life, but it does not come without its own forms of hell.

        March 19, 2014 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Trevor

      Yes it does. I had my first kidney transplant at 24 and my second kidney transplant at 35 and if I need another one I am outta here. I wasn't really in that much pain when they first failed and I was ok with dying at age 24 but my parents were not. By the time I needed the second one I had built a good career and had a great life so I decided to have a second one. I woke up in the recovery room and the first thing I saw was that Obama had won the 2008 election and shortly after that the recession of 2009 hit and I lost my job and have not worked since. Now, I have pretty much lost everything... I should have gone out when I was on top.

      February 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Joe

    What 21 year old guy wouldnt drive her anywhere and help with her medications?

    May 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Mike

    It's obvious that Richard has autism.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  21. D Dog

    Richard – what a total idiot!!!!

    May 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  22. MariaSanta and Richard belong together........tap eachother.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  23. james

    If I was tapping that a$$ I'd drive her anywhere.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Channavel Kong

    I watched the show Modern Family
    Even she is an actress people all are lucky to have a kidney

    May 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Dee

    I don't watch tv, so no clue who the girl is. However, she is adorable and I wish her lifelong health and a very successful acting career.

    How can some people be so calloused and say such hateful things? **Looking at you Richard**

    May 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  26. deb

    I rarely post on these blogs any longer because there are so many pathetic losers making insensitive and unbelievably stupid comments!

    I just wanted to say I wish her well. It sounds like she's had it hard the last 10 years or so. Good luck and best wishes.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  27. MariaSanta're not only ignorant, but you're a hate filled poor excuse for a human being. I wish this talented young woman good health and a wonderful life. She is Blessed to have a loving wonderful Father. Something you obviously did NOT have Richard......or would it be mmore accurate to call you "Dick"?

    May 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Pay that loser no mind. If you regularly read through comments, you will undoubtedly see his type. The lonesome soul desperately trying to draw attention to himself by saying foul things. You see, his type doesn't care whether the attention is good or bad. It only matters that you are paying attention to it. Mommy & daddy probably shut him in a room by himself and didn't cuddle him... 😉 ANYWAY – Wishing Sarah all the successes life has to offer her!

      May 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Kaye B.

    As a transplant receipient, I thank you for telling Sarah's story. Many people do not know what we go through. I would love to see updates on her progress, and possibly more information on what she will be dealing with. This may help others understand us. So we won't have to keep explaining about "wash your hands and don't come around when you are sick."

    May 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Maria

    "Any other 21-year-old guy would not be there, I guarantee it. I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have him be there for me."

    I wouldn't say that. I'm sure he's getting something in return.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  30. wow

    Wow, she looks younger than 21.

    May 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  31. KJ

    I hope and pray you get to feeling much better Sarah! = )

    May 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |

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