By Kathy Walsh
SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4) – A family in Superior is especially grateful this Thanksgiving. Their baby boy is home from the hospital. In this season of giving, Timothy Thomas Wahlquist got the gift of life.
Timothy is the center of attention and getting healthier every day. It’s hard to believe, just weeks ago, the blue-eyed baby was yellow.
“So, so yellow,” said his mother, April Wahlquist.
Timothy was born with jaundice that didn’t go away. He had a rare liver disease that occurs in infants called biliary atresia. At nine months, his liver was failing. He needed a transplant.
“We didn’t want to wait,” explained April.
So dad, Joseph, was tested as a living donor, but his liver was too big. April is petite and ended up a perfect match.
“It was pretty scary,” she said. “Especially the morning of.”
On Nov. 2 at the University of Colorado Hospital, Chief of Transplant Surgery Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret removed about 20 percent of April’s liver.
“Thankfully, she did beautifully,” said Pomfret.
The organ was driven by ambulance across the street to Children’s Hospital Colorado where the Surgical Director of the Children’s Transplant Program, Dr. Michael Wachs, operated on Timothy.
“We were able to completely remove his sick liver and just put in that small piece,” said Dr. Wachs.
April wears a shirt that reads “Liver Giver,” but she is so much more.
“She’s now given life to her child twice and I don’t think there’s a greater or more profound thing you can do in life,” said Dr. Pomfret.
“To see my baby healthy and happy, everything was worth it,” said April.
Tiny Tim is pretty tough and his parents agree his struggle has made the whole Wahlquist family stronger.
If all goes well, Tim’s new liver should get him back on track growing and developing normally. Because the liver has the unique ability to regenerate itself, April’s liver should be back to full size in about 6 months.