Transplant gives Lizzy her chance


With bravery well beyond her eight years, Lizzy Ferguson, of Port Kennedy, still gets shivers whenever she hears the word ‘‘liver’’.

Picture: Transplant survivor Lizzy Ferguson, 8, with her brother Cole, 11, her proud mum Clare McDonald and family friend Rebecca Stuart.

In August, Lizzy fell seriously ill and within days was taken to Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with acute liver failure.

Her mother, Clare McDonald, said it was the scariest moment of her life.

‘‘Usually on the 11th of August I am getting ready to celebrate my daughter Elizabeth’s birthday, making cupcakes for her to take to school to give to her friends, or rushing out for a last-minute present for her brother to give to her,’’ she said.

‘‘But, this year I was aboard a Qantas jet with Elizabeth, her father and a nurse from Princess Margaret Hospital, flying to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.’’

Doctors told the family that a liver transplant in Sydney was the only hope of saving Lizzy’s life, as paediatric liver transplants were not carried out in WA.

Ms McDonald said the wait for an available liver for her daughter was ‘‘harrowing’’.

‘‘Her father was prepared to donate part of his liver because she just kept getting worse and we didn’t think she would make it,’’ she said.

Finally, after days of trying to stay positive for their little girl, they received good news.

‘‘The doctor came in and said ‘we have a liver’, you just have no idea, it was the best news,’’ she said.

‘‘Then we realised, the liver was coming from someone who had left behind loved ones.

‘‘We were celebratingwhile they were grieving, it was such a horrible position to be in, but he or she was about to save Lizzy’s life.’’

Lizzy underwent surgery and was fitted with part of an adult liver.

She then spent eight weeks in Westmead, where her family remained at her bedside. Funds needed for Lizzy’s ongoing treatment were raised at a quiz night at St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School at the weekend.

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