A mum of two from Carlton, Nottingham, has an added reason to celebrate this Mothers’ Day weekend. This Thursday (March 16) marks the 30th anniversary of her liver transplant.
Emma Croghan, now 37, was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia and was just seven years old when she underwent the life-saving surgery.
“At the time, it was early days for paediatric liver transplants in the UK,” says Emma. “My quality of life improved dramatically but there were still so many unknowns about the future. Because of this, it meant a lot for me and my family to receive information and support from Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF). It was reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone, even with a rare disease. I had more questions all the time and CLDF were always there to help me.
“There was obviously no data on survival rates for people in my situation or how it would affect my chances of having a family. So I do feel incredibly lucky to be here 30 years on, fit and well with two healthy children.”
Emma and husband, Paul, welcomed William seven years ago and Theo followed three years later.
“Due to me being an ‘interesting case’ I was monitored very closely throughout both pregnancies and received excellent care,” says Emma. “Since then, I think I have gone through the same motherhood challenges as everyone else. I was advised not to breastfeed because of the immunosupression medication I take, but bottle- feeding suited us all fine. In general life, I’m very lucky that I continue to be in good health and my liver condition doesn’t impactme hugely from day to day, other than I probably get tired a little more quickly than others.
“This weekend will be special as I’ll be spending it with my boys. We’ll probably just build some Lego and go for a walk in the park, but they’re great fun and I love spending time with them. Of course I shall always be grateful to the family of my liver donor for the incredible gift that they gave. I really hope that my story gives hope to other girls and young women who grow up with childhood liver disease. Motherhood is exhausting and relentless but a thousand times over the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Rebecca Cooper, Chief Executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation commented: “It’s wonderful that Mothers’ Day this year coincides with such a special anniversary for Emma. Happily, paediatric liver transplant is now well established in the UK which means many more young people have a future to look forward to and we are privileged to provide them and their families with the information and support they need for their journey. Emma’s story will indeed bring real hope to others. We thank her for sharing and wish her a wonderful weekend.”
Read more of Emma’s story here and link to The best thing I’ve ever done – Childrens Liver Disease Foundation (childliverdisease.org)
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.