When Bella was only a few months old, tests showed that she needed a liver transplant. Her mom, Alexis, looked into living liver donation and found out they were a perfect match.
“She was just a small, little, chubby baby that was super yellow,” Alexis said. “To us, she was normal. We took her to her two-month appointment. They did labs and a couple of months later, we found out we were going to need a liver transplant.”
Bella had a rare liver disease called biliary atresia. The liver produces bile, but when it doesn’t drain normally into the intestine, it can lead to cirrhosis, which is scarring in the liver.
Biliary atresia can be a life-threatening condition, and her only chance at long-term survival was liver transplantation, said Dr. Danielle Fritze, Bella’s transplant surgeon.
Dr. Tarunjeet Klair was Alexis’s transplant surgeon. “Alexis came forward to be considered as a potential donor for her child,” Klair said. “We completed the evaluation, and she was found to be an appropriate donor.”
Alexis and Bella underwent transplant surgery on the same day, and their surgeries were both a success.
“Bella’s case actually highlights what I love most about my job,” Fritze said. “Getting a text message from Bella’s mom with a video of her first steps, what could be better than that?”
Living Liver Donation at University Health
Living organ donations give people who need donors the best chance at a healthy life. Oftentimes, people in need of an organ transplant will wait years for a good match from a deceased donor.
You can save someone’s life, like Bella’s, by considering becoming a living donor.
“Bella is doing amazingly well today,” Alexis said. “She’s a perfectly healthy 2-year-old, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re super grateful to University Hospital for giving Bella a second chance at life.”
An Update on Bella
It’s been five years since her transplant, and now at six years old, Bella is doing great. She loves school and is excited to begin first grade this fall. Bella is bursting with energy and creativity, and enjoys building sets, drawing and painting.