Sean and Sophie’s four-year-old-daughter, Annie was born with biliary atresia.
“Annie’s bile ducts were damaged and did not function properly,” explains Sean. “She had a Kasai to try and correct the problem, but it was unsuccessful and, by the time she was six months old, she was on the waiting list for a liver transplant. As her condition worsened, however, doctors were not optimistic that a liver would be found in time, so we started to look at the possibility of a living related donor.”
“We were both a match for Annie”, continues Sophie. “So, we made the decision for it to be Sean as I’m a doctor and we felt I would be better at looking after them both. Also, Annie is very like her dad, it felt right for it to be him.
“Annie and Sean both had their surgery at Kings. The day was agonising for me, every minute they were in surgery felt like hours and having them both in intensive care was very hard. It was difficult seeing them both so unwell and splitting my time between the two of them.”
Fortunately, both operations were a success. Sean returned to work after three months although it was a year before he could exercise as normal again. And although Annie had a lot of hospital admissions with infections during the first two years after the transplant, she has not been admitted for two years now.
“Liver transplantation saved Annie’s life, “ says Sophie, “Apart from her immunosuppressant medication, she now lives a normal life just like any other child her age, whereas her life before the transplant was a life in hospital. We feel so lucky that Sean was able to do this and that we now have her here living life to the full. Living donation is a truly wonderful development and I really hope her story inspires people to join the Organ Donor Register.”