Joshua‘s parents knew something was wrong when the three-month old’s skin continued to grow more yellow as time passed.
It wasn’t just jaundice. Doctors finally diagnosed the infant with biliary atresia, a condition where bile ducts get blocked and can’t expel waste. It’s fatal if not caught early enough. In Joshua’s case the damage was already extensive and during emergency surgery to fix the blockage doctors realized he needed a partial liver transplant.
His bereft parents had another hurdle thrown their way: Because of Joshua’s rare O-positive blood type, it would be even harder to find a donor.
Mother Michelle Bauer sent out a social media appeal, but out of 30 people who responded, none was a match.
Then Trinity Hollingsworth, a woman Michelle had met when they were both pregnant at the same time, made an incredible choice. The Moreno Valley, Calif. woman would donate part of her liver to save the life of her friend’s child. The 24-year-old woman, by great luck, happened to be a close enough match.
“I have an 8-month-old who’s healthy, and I look at the 7-month-old who is dying right in front of his mom’s eyes. I want Michelle to have the same blessing I have with my daughter every day,” Hollingsworth told The Press-Enterprise.
The transplant was a success. Within hours, Joshua’s colour started to improve. He is expected to make a full recovery and live a healthy, normal life, although he will be on anti-rejection pills for life. A small price to pay when you consider that he would likely have not made it to a year.
Hollingsworth, who is currently unemployed, will remain in the hospital to recover for a week and won’t be able to lift her own daughter for two months, but has no qualms about her decision.
“I would hope somebody would do the same if my daughter was sick,” she said.
If there’s only one thing we hope is contagious, it’s this selfless attitude and sense of community.
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