Woman gives birth to sister's baby after years of health issues

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Thursday, May 13, 2021
Woman fighting sickness becomes new mom thanks to sister
Stacey Sager reports on the Long Island woman's impactful story.

MANHASSET, Long Island (WABC) -- A woman who has fought cystic fibrosis for years is now thriving and just became a new mom - thanks to the generosity of her sister.

During her health battles, Katy Starck-Monte, 37, of Queens, has undergone two lung transplants to ease her symptoms.

Back in late 2012, she caught a virus that had a catastrophic effect on her new lungs at that time. It also sent her into kidney failure.

She waited 77 days in the hospital back then - unsure if she would make it home.

A hashtag called #OomphForKaty began lifting her spirits -- that, plus the selfless acts of her big sister, Christine Zammit, who donated her kidney to Katy.

Now, years later, Christine, at 41, is also Katy's surrogate and delivered baby Riley to Katy and husband Joe on Tuesday at Northshore University Hospital.

It was one of New York's first surrogate births since the state cleared all legal hurdles a few months ago.

The sisters called it a longstanding promise.

"I think years ago, way before Katy was even married, she said, 'Would you ever carry a baby for me?' Sure! Why not?" Zammit said.

That's because Starck-Monte had wanted this so badly.

And so, after some of the darkest days, not to mention a pandemic, little Riley, 7 pounds and 3 ounces of love, has arrived.

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