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Matilda – liver recipient, NSW

A photo of Matilda
It's such an important discussion to have, we thought it wouldn't happen to us

Young Matilda knows what it’s like to itch so much that you make your own skin bleed.

At around the age of three, bile began building up under Matilda’s skin and make her incredibly itchy, she ended up with scabs from head to toe from all the scratching.

It was all part of a rapid decline in her liver function between the ages of three and four years-old.

Matilda was born with biliary atresia, a rare childhood liver disease that scars and blocks the bile ducts, causing bile to build up and damage the liver. Through surgical intervention while a baby, Matilda was able to remain relatively stable for around three years.

As her jaundice levels began rising, blood tests showed the scaring on her liver was increasing and a transplant was her only hope.

After a 12-month wait, Matilda’s family received the life-saving call they had been waiting for – a donated liver was going to save Matilda.

“The surgery went very well and although it was a hard journey mentally, physically and emotionally, we could not be any more grateful for the gift Matilda has been given,” her mum Kimberley said.

“She blew doctors away with her recovery. Matilda is growing beautifully, her colour is amazing, there is no more scratching, she has so much more energy and her confidence is through the roof!”

Kimberley said one of Matilda’s biggest wishes pre-transplant was to be able to teach her baby brother to throw a ball.

“Her baby brother is now a toddler and one of his favourite things to do is throw a ball with Matilda,” she said.

“Organ donation is such an important discussion to have, it’s not something we ever thought would happen to us.”

Kathy Heagney
Graphic of native plants

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