Photo Credit: Seventeen
On ABC's Modern Family, Sarah Hyland plays ditzy beauty Haley Dunphy, whose two biggest concerns are dating cute boys and maybe getting into college (in that order). In real life, however, the 21-year-old actress has been dealing with something far more serious: a life-long battle with kidney dysplasia.
In the new issue of Seventeen, Hyland reveals that her condition -- in which cysts form on the kidney, preventing it from functioning normally -- was so dire that she underwent a kidney transplant on April 13.
And, just as Phil Dunphy might have done for Haley, Hyland's real-life dad was the one to give his little girl a new kidney -- a fact that has reinfornced to the actress just how important family is.
"You know that family is going to be there for you no matter what. My dad gave me a freakin' kidney!" she says in the interview, which was conducted while she was recovering from the surgery. "But it's also the families that you create outside of your family. And you really find out what kind of people you're friends with. It was just amazing, and it really opened my eyes to see who's there for me and who's not."
One very important member of that family-outside-her-family is boyfriend Matt Prokop -- and Hyland gushes that he's been in her corner every step of the way.
"He helps me with my medication and takes me to doctor appointments and all the stuff that I need to do to take care of myself," Hyland says of Prokop. "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."
In addition to being able to leave the hospital and get some pizza, there's one other (major) thing for which Hyland is thankful.
"I have a second chance at life," she says. "Not a lot of people get that."