Cooper Hanks was born with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia. When he was two months old he had a surgery, known as the Kasai procedure, and spent almost one month in the hospital. Cooper’s bilirubin numbers remained elevated after surgery, along with his other liver enzymes.
Cooper was hospitalized twice within the first few months after his surgery. One time was for a very serious infection, cholangitis. After this, Cooper remained “healthy” for the next year.
In August 2011, Cooper showed signs of dehydration. He was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital and was treated for severe dehydration and also a very serious blood infection! He became very sick while the doctors tried to find the source of his infection. After being hospitalized for over a week, the doctors determined he had several abscesses in his liver. They tried to drain them, but in the end, decided he would have to have a new liver.
The next day he was put on the transplant list. He was officially listed at approximately 3:30 PM. Now all that could be done was to wait for a match! We were told it could take weeks to months or even longer to get an acceptable match. At approximately 6:30 PM (that same night!) we got a call that there was a match! Just THREE short hours on the transplant list and Cooper had a match! A Miracle! There is no other word to describe it! All of the doctors said it was a record and had never seen it happen so fast!
Cooper had surgery the next day, on August 17, to transplant his new liver! He did great during and after surgery. We went home just 4 weeks after his transplant!
The first year post transplant was difficult adjusting to our new normal with so many new medications and various health issues that came about as a result of his transplant and medicine. The years that have followed have had lots of highs and some occasional lows, but after 7 years Cooper is a thriving eight year old!
He loves baseball, football, dancing and playing with his friends, and his sister too!
We are very blessed with family and friends who support us and are thankful for The American Liver Foundation that works so hard to find a cure to end liver disease.