Dad Donates Liver to Newborn Son with Alagille Syndrome After Losing 30 Pounds

By Danielle Bradshaw from In The Cloud Copy

Sean and Josie Kelly, a New York native couple, have had a newborn son named Sawyer who was born with a rare genetic disorder called Alagille syndrome, which causes liver damage among other health complications. Because Josie also has Alagille syndrome, it fell on Sean as the only choice to donate part of his liver to their son – or so he thought.

When Sean was told that he would be unable to donate to his son due to his weight, he was immediately spurred into action. The New Yorker decided to set out on what would likely be the most important mission of his life – losing enough weight so that he could become a viable organ donor for Sawyer.

What is Alagille Syndrome?

Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by the damage that it causes to both the heart and liver and is usually discovered either when patients are still infants or later on during early childhood.

Liver damage caused by this disease occurs when the bile ducts are formed abnormally. This causes bile to accumulate inside of the liver and results in scars that make it hard for it to get rid of waste in the person’s blood. In the case of heart damage, Alagille syndrome can cause pulmonic stenosis (restricted blood flow from the heart) and ventricular septal defect – a hole that occurs in between the lower two chambers of the heart.

Sean Kelly: A Man on a Mission

When Sean was speaking about his experience on Good Morning America he says that he figured that there wasn’t really anything stopping him from getting his weight down to check whether or not he was a match. He said that even though it was entirely possible that he might not be a match for Sawyer, he still had to get his weight down enough so that he could try nonetheless.

To achieve his goal, Sean started his workout plan back in August of 2019 and lost 30 pounds so that he could test to see if he could donate a portion of his liver. After being tested, Sean was called up by the head of donations for Sawyer and was told by her that he was a match and that the transplant was already scheduled. Needless to say, Sean was floored by the news.

The Surgery and Aftermath

The surgery for baby Sawyer took place on December 19 at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and was said to be an incredibly difficult and complicated procedure. His doctor said that overall, the child’s body will be much healthier and stronger than before, with an increased ability to withstand infections.

As for Sean, he said that he’s incredibly thankful that the transplant went well and that he hopes that his story inspires others to become – or at least consider becoming – living organ donors too.

Check out the original story here.

 


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