Meet our 2020 Montana LIVEr Champion, Stella Martin
Stella was born in 2011. She was a beautiful baby weighing 8.4lbs. She was healthy; or so we thought. When Stella was 4 weeks, we noticed her skin was turning yellow and we took her to the doctor. He checked her liver levels and the next day, we were on our way to Denver. After a biopsy, she was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. Stella had the Kasai procedure and we stayed in the hospital for ten days and those days changed our lives. We had never heard of this rare disease and we were scared. This procedure is not guaranteed to last forever and could result in a liver transplant sometime in Stella’s life. We were overwhelmed with gratefulness for the care we received from the medical staff, friends and family. Besides taking medicine every day, Stella lives a normal, happy life. She has been very lucky to be symptom free, however, we take things one day at a time. We want to bring awareness to liver disease, so research can be done to find cures. Thank you to the ALF for all your hard work.
– The Martin Family
Meet our 2019 Montana LIVEr Champion, Peri
We were overjoyed by the birth of our daughter, Peri, in August, 2013. Unaware of the grim diagnosis which awaited her, we enjoyed our baby daughter to the fullest. It wasn’t until a gamut of medical tests, a cross-state journey and liver biopsy at Children’s Hospital Colorado that we understood why our baby was unable to clear the yellow that clouded her eyes and marred her skin; she was afflicted by a rare, life-threatening disease called Biliary Atresia.
At 25 days old, Peri underwent surgery to correct the non-functionality of her biliary system in her liver. Peri was flown from Montana to Denver on three separate Life Flights, with numerous hospitalizations in between. In January, 2017, the decision was made to list her for transplant.
As her mother, I had never doubted and had hoped, in fact, that I would be the one to donate to her. After praying that the evaluation process would be the one thing on our journey which was easy, I was approved as Peri’s donor at the end of February, 2017.
Our surgeries took place on the morning of March 21 with myself admitted to UCHealth and Peri at Children’s Hospital Colorado. We cannot thank our communities, families, friends and medical professionals enough for helping us find the light at the end of this struggle and pray that the opportunity we were graciously given can be allotted to all those who struggle with liver disease.
– By Claire Erickson, Liver Champion’s mom and her hero