Today, Kasen Donerlson’s doctors expect the 1-year-old to live a long, healthy life, but that wasn’t always the case.
When Kasen was born in January 2020, he spent his first few days in the NICU with what doctors assumed to be jaundice. After he showed no improvement, they discovered a much more serious problem.
The little one was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the bile ducts that only affects infants. Without a liver transplant, Kasen wasn’t expected to survive.
His mom, Mitayah Donerlson of Syracuse, New York, said the situation with her second-born child was “very, very stressful.” Their family was in and out of the hospital for most of the year because of complications.
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When they were finally able to get Kasen on the list for the liver transplant program at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they thought they’d found the light at the end of the tunnel. But in November, the entire family came down with COVID-19.
Kasen ended up with a high fever that required hospitalization. He stayed in the hospital for three weeks, fighting for his life and proving himself to be a survivor yet again.
The family was just recovering from the deadly virus when they got some amazing news: A liver was available for Kasen!
“All I could do was cry. They were mommy tears of joy. I was just so happy,” Mitayah told GMA.
Eleven months after his birth, Kasen underwent a 10-hour transplant operation to give him a second shot at a healthy life.
Kasen has been recovering well from his surgery, and his doctors are calling him a “miracle baby” due to everything he has gone through in such a short period of time.
“His recovery right now is going so sweet and so smooth that I can’t ask for anything more,” Mitayah added.
A few short weeks after his surgery, Kasen celebrated his first birthday. Thanks to his new liver, he’s stronger than ever and ready for his life to truly begin!
Share this story to wish him a speedy recovery after a long, stressful year of health problems.
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