Gift of life for little Sydney girl
Gift of life for little Sydney girl

Six months ago 7News brought you a story about a baby girl whose parents had learned that without a new liver she wouldn't make her first birthday.

Well, a donor was found and the difference that person has made to Alexandra Matthews' life is extraordinary.

At 16 months, Allie is unstoppable but it was a different story back in May when we first met her at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital.

Her parents John and Claire were told Allie needed a new liver within weeks.

With her parents' livers unsuitable, it took an anonymous organ donor to give Allie a second chance.

“She's so lively as you can see now, it's quite incredible really. She was in intensive care 3 months ago,” father John Matthews said.

Allie was born with biliary atresia, a rare disease that destroys the bile ducts in the liver.

Paediatric gastroenterologist Dr Michael Stormon helped save her life in a 19 hour operation in July.

“The liver was split to give her a small part and an adult a big part," Dr Stormon said.

It will grow with her, but she will need twice daily medication to prevent rejection.

“Transplantation means she has to be on immunosuppressant drugs forever." Dr Stormon said.

Rejection concerns aside, her parents and doctors are confident Allie will lead a normal life, and there are thousands of others hoping for the same outcome.

Each year, 80 people die waiting, but just one donor can save up to seven lives.

To Allie's parents, those who do donate are heroes.

They say it's the greatest gift anyone can give, and that it's certainly the greatest gift anyone can receive.

For more information on organ donation visit the Transplant Australia website, the Australian Organ Donor Register or Donate Life.

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