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Little Abigail’s story highlights need for liver donors in Sussex
The mother of a little girl who had a liver transplant at just eight months old is urging people to sign up to the organ donor register.
Katie Jackson is also backing the charity which supported her and husband Ben when their daughter was ill.
Four-year-old Abigail now looks the picture of health and has just enjoyed her first term at school.
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Like any youngster, she loves playing with her friends and running around.
She looks no different to her classmates near her home in Ifield, Crawley, but the story was very different when she was born in February 2009.
The youngster was not gaining weight or thriving and appeared to be jaundiced so she was referred to hospital for tests.
Her worried parents then had to take her to the specialist King’s College Hospital in London where the seven-week-old had a liver biopsy.
Tests confirmed she had a condition called biliary atresia, a potentially fatal condition which prevents the liver draining properly. She had an immediate operation to try to repair her liver but over the next few months she did not improve.
By September her parents were told the youngster was going to need a transplant.
Mrs Jackson, 39, said: “We started to make the preparations needed and her dad was going to become a living donor for her the following February.
“But then her condition really started to deteriorate and she was going into liver failure.”
A liver became available in December and the youngster’s successful transplant went ahead.
Mrs Jackson said: “She immediately started to improve and has never looked back since. She has done really well. We have to be careful with her in terms of infections but apart from having to take medication each day, she is fine. We are always grateful to the person who donated the liver and their family. It has made all the difference in the world to us.
“The person was an adult and the liver was divided so others were able to benefit as well. I would urge people to sign up to the register.”
The family were also supported by the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, a charity which acts as a comprehensive information hub for healthcare professionals and the public.
Mrs Jackson, who also has a son Tom, nearly two, said: “They have been brilliant.
They have provided us with somuch help.”
Charity chief executive Alison Taylor said: “It’s wonderful to see Abigail doing so well and enjoying school. We would urge families around the country to say yes to organ donation and take the opportunity to transform a life like Abigail’s.”
For more details about the charity, visit www.childliverdisease.org.
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