Thursday, September 29, 2011

3-year-old liver recipient "a new girl"

NEW GIRL: Sophie and her mum Amanda Barr yesterday. Picture: LEIGH WINBURN

themercury.com, Tasmania

For brave little Sophie Chilcott, the outlook is rosy.

Just two months after her life-saving liver transplant, the healthy and happy three-year-old made her first public appearance back home in Tasmania yesterday.

Sophie was born with biliary atresia, a rare condition that affects one in 20,000 children, mainly girls.

After an excruciating nine months on the waiting list, in which Sophie became more and more ill, a liver became available and she had the operation at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital on July 18.

Sophie's mother Amanda Barr said her daughter was a new girl since recovering from the operation.

Sophie takes medication, including anti-rejection drugs, 16 times a day.

"Every fortnight we go to Melbourne for check-ups but gradually they will be further and further apart," Ms Barr said.

She said Sophie's twin brother Toby and older brother Ryan were now able to play with their sister.

"Now she's running around and has more energy than they do," she said. "Once she knocked their building blocks over and Ryan joked 'She needs to get her old liver back'."

Ms Barr, of Glenorchy, said she was thrilled to hear Australian organ donations and transplants were on the rise.

"I think about the donor family all the time," she said. "It's very bittersweet. We're celebrating but it does take someone passing away for it to happen."

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King was in Hobart yesterday to met Sophie and highlight the importance of organ and tissue donation in Tasmania.

"There are 1500 people in Australia on the organ donor waiting list at the moment," she said.

"They are in severe medical distress. It is life-changing surgery and when you see someone like Sophie, who now has her whole life ahead of her, it is an incredible gift."

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – Sign-up today! to become an organ and tissue donor
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, organdonor.gov
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

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