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Liver transplant gives tiny Tilly second chance at life

Among the Australians who are alive today because of organ and tissue donation is Matilda, a wonderful six year old girl from Campbelltown.

Tilly, as family and friends call her, received a life saving liver transplant last year.

Her story is being told to promote DonateLife Week (July 26 – August 2), the annual national awareness campaign for organ and tissue donation.

Matilda was born with biliary atresia, a rare childhood liver disease that scars and blocks the bile ducts, causing bile to build up and damage the organ.

Her condition was diagnosed early and just one month after she was born Tilly underwent a surgical procedure to drain the bile from her liver.

The surgery kept Matilda relatively stable – until she began to deteriorate at the age of three. 

 “At around three years old she started getting very itchy,’’ says mum Kimberley.

“She would scratch herself so much she would bleed.

 “There wasn’t any medication to help ease the pain, frustration and sadness.’’

Between the ages of three and four, Tilly’s jaundice levels began rising again and her liver function tests revealed a rapid decline.

In August 2018, the family were told a liver transplant was the only hope and Tilly was placed on the transplant waiting list.

The call came a little over a year later – Tilly was getting a new liver.

“The surgery went very well and although it was a hard journey, mentally, physically and emotionally, we could not be any more grateful for the gift Matilda has been given,’’ says Kimberley.

Tilly, it seems, blew the doctors away with her recovery.

“Matilda is growing beautifully, her colour is amazing, there is no more scratching, she has so much more energy and her confidence is through the roof,’’ says her mum.

“Organ donation is such an important conversation to have, it’s not something we ever thought would happen to us.”

Despite the majority of people in NSW saying they support organ donation, only one in three are registered.

Registering as an organ donor gives hope to the 1,600 Australians and their families that are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

To join the Australian Organ Donor Register, visit donatelife.gov.au.  

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