Facebook | Mitayah Donerlson

Baby Who Survived Liver Transplant And COVID-19 Celebrates His First Birthday

Amy Pilkington 22 Jan 2021

When Kasen Donerlson was born on January 14, 2020, he weighed a healthy eight pounds, but needed to spend a few days in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) due to a bit of jaundice and some breathing issues.

His mom, Mitayah, took him back for evaluation where Kasen was diagnosed with biliary atresia, and a severe case of it too.

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According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the condition affects the bile ducts in and around the liver, scarring and blocking their function.

Kasen was only two months old, but he needed emergency surgery to repair the bile ducts.

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Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and Kasen was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

Facebook | Mitayah Donerlson

Then in November, Kasen began to feel scalding hot to the touch and the family rushed him to the hospital.

There, he was diagnosed with COVID-19, along with Mitayah, her partner, and her neice.

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However, everyone pulled through without any complications!

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Besides his severe fever, Kasen had no other problematic symptoms and recovered quickly.

Which was great news, because in December the family was told that a donor had been found!

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His surgery was scheduled for early January.

Facebook | Mitayah Donerlson

At that time, he only weighed the equivalent of a three-month-old infant, not one who was about to celebrate a first birthday.

The surgery took 10 hours, in which the doctors transplanted a portion of a young adult's liver into Kasen's tiny body.

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Mitayah said that the difference was noticeable immediately.

Facebook | Mitayah Donerlson

"His eyes have always been greenish and yellowish, his entire life, and he woke up from surgery with clear eyes," she told GMA, "I was overjoyed by seeing that."

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Just 11 days after the transplant, Kasen celebrated his first birthday at the hospital, complete with a cake smash.

Facebook | Mitayah Donerlson

Then on January 21, Kasen was finally discharged from the hospital and headed home. He's doing amazing!

Of course, his treatment and care wasn't cheap, so the family created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $30,000 dollars to help cover the costs.

As of this writing, it just hit its goal!

h/t: GMA

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