WACO, Texas — After their child was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia, a Waco couple prayed for a miracle. It looks like they finally received one.
Hayes and Adrianna Harper said on Facebook their doctors found a liver that's the perfect size and blood type for their daughter, Marlee Harper.
The two said their doctor had to label it high-risk as a precaution, but the doctor reassured them it's a good, healthy liver. There is a possibility that they could change their minds once they see the liver in person, but the doctors are confident they'll move forward with the transplant.
The Harpers said they're ecstatic about the news, but they want you to remember the other family who's going through the unimaginable.
"PLEASE say some big prayers for our family that this liver is in perfect shape and that this liver is healthy and that there will be nothing bad that comes from this liver," the Harpers said. "And please pray for the family that lost their little one. They are giving our girl a second chance at life, that we will be forever grateful for."
The Harpers are on their way to the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston to confirm the liver is the right match, then go on with the transplant.
A PayPal account has been set up to help support the family.
What is biliary atresia?
Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants, according to cincinnatichildrens.org.
Cells within the liver produce a liquid called bile, which helps to digest fat and carry waste from the liver to the intestines to be expelled, according to cincinnatichildrens.org. The network of channels and ducts is called the biliary system. When the biliary system is working the way it should, it lets the bile drain from the liver into the intestines, the website says.
For a baby with biliary atresia, bile flow from the liver to the gallbladder is blocked, which causes the bile to be trapped inside the liver, which causes damage and scarring of the liver cells that leads to liver failure, according to cincinnatichildrens.org.
What are symptoms of biliary atresia?
Babies with biliary atresia seem healthy when they are born. Symptoms usually appear within the first two weeks to two months of life and include:
- Dark urine
- Discolored stool: Usually a clay-like color, sometimes accompanied by a hard, swollen abdomen.
- Weight loss
How is biliary atresia treated?
Biliary atresia can’t be treated with medication. It can be treated by performing a surgery called the Kasai procedure which re-establish bile flow from the liver into the intestine, according to cincinnatichildrens.org.
The procedure has a 60 to 85 percent success rate, the website said.
By the time an infant is 4 months old, surgery is unlikely to be helpful and a liver transplant may be necessary.
How can you help Marlee and others like her?
Get tested to see if you are a match to be a living donor. You can fill out a confidential online health questionnaire on the Baylor Scott and White website to determine if you are a potential donor candidate.
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