The mother of a little girl who received a life-saving liver transplant today thanked the brave parents who have made this their best Christmas ever.
Little Keira Royds-Jones is the picture of health as she and younger sister Megan look forward to opening their presents tomorrow (December 25).
However, just a year ago her future was looking uncertain as she was placed on the transplant list.
Medics told Keira’s mother Kirsty the then five-year-old would need a new liver before she reached the age of seven.
Keira was born with a rare genetic condi tion called Alagille Syndrome, which affects one in 70,000 people.
It left her with liver, heart and sight problems while she also had to take extra care because her bones would break easily.
Keira’s family knew right from the start she would eventually need a transplant but doctors had to wait until they thought her body was strong enough to cope.
Kirsty, 36, from Hove, had been expecting to wait up to two years before a possible donor could be found, but this summer the call came.
Keira has gone from strength to strength since her operation in July and is now full of energy, running around, taking dance lessons and enjoying school.
As the family now look forward to a big Christmas celebration, Kirsty said her thoughts were with the donor family, who lost their three-year-old.
She said: “In their time of great grief they were able to reach out and give another child a gift of life.
“It is difficult to put into words how that feels, but we will always be truly grateful. We are going to have a great Christmas but we will always remember those who have lost so much.
“This is the time of year where people think of others and I would ask everyone to consider signing up to the organ donor register and possibly help save someone's life.”
Before her transplant, Keira, now six, from Hove, had discoloured skin and was easily tired but her mother says she is now a different girl.
She said: “The whole experience of her transplant was such a whirlwind. One minute we were having an ordinary day and the next we were rushing up to London.
“It was probably one of the most extreme experiences I have ever been through.
“Once they got her pain relief under control, Keira started to do really well.
“She was in hospital for three weeks and then we had another week in an apartment in London before we were able to take her home.”
Doctors will continue to monitor Keira’s progress but she is continuing to do well.
Return to normal
Kirsty said: “Her colour is normal now and she no longer needs to be fed through a nasal and gastric tube so is eating and drinking normally.
“She says that food tastes a lot better now.
“It is very strange to look back on this time last year and it is only now that I realise just how much Keira has changed since her transplant. It has been a really emotional time.
“We know this is down to those anonymous people who allowed the transplant to happen.
“We were told it was a little child of three and we can never thank them enough.
“When Keira gets older we will be making sure she is well aware of everything.
“This has made all the difference in the world to us and shows just why it is important to sign up to the register.”
For details, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 1232323.
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