Teen runs for liver disease awareness

Cecilia AllenSound Telegraph
Lizzie Ferguson, who has had two liver transplants will run 4km to raise funds for the Liver Foundation of WA.
Camera IconLizzie Ferguson, who has had two liver transplants will run 4km to raise funds for the Liver Foundation of WA.

A Port Kennedy resident, who had two liver transplants in six years, will participate in her third HBF Run for a Reason to raise awareness of children’s liver disease and raise funds for the Liver Foundation of WA.

Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Ferguson was eight when she became unwell with a gastro-type illness.

Tests showed her liver was not functioning properly and she was flown to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

On her ninth birthday, she was placed on the transplant list.

Lizzie was so ill, she was placed at the top of the transplant list, receiving her “gift of life” just three days later.

Unfortunately, the liver was the wrong blood type and she had complications which led to the removal of her spleen.

Over the next four years, Lizzie continued to have complications, including blockages and infections in her liver and was again placed on the transplant list.

Six weeks later, the family received a call there was a matching liver for her, so they flew black to Sydney.

The Kolbe Catholic College student takes medication to prevent infection and rejection and is immunosuppressed but apart from that, mother Clare McDonald said she was full of life and just like any other 15-year-old.

Although Lizzie does not know her donors, she is grateful and last year shared her transplant journey at an Organ and Tissue Authority DonateLife event, which was held in the lead-up to Thank You Day, a national day to pay tribute to all Australians who make organ and tissue donation possible.

“There were times where I had given up but you’ve got to get it into your mindset that you set one goal and then make another and then another,” she said.

Lizzie also encourages people to become a donor to allow more lives to be saved.

Ms McDonald said they were participating in the 4km run under the Liver Lovers group to raise awareness and funds for the Liver Foundation of WA so they can continue to help families, both pre and post liver transplant and provide ongoing education in schools on through the Love your Liver initiative.

“Because they don’t do paediatric liver transplants in WA, parents with sick kids have to travel to Sydney and it costs add up,” she said.

Each year, three WA children need a liver transplant, according to The Liver Foundation.

Lizzie and Ms McDonald also hope to encourage schools to participate in Crazy Socks Day, which encourages students to wear crazy socks to school for a gold coin donation.

Visit https://hbfrun2018.everydayhero.com/au/liver-lovers to donate.

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