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Seven-month-old Summer needs a liver donor

Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 19, 2019

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — Summer Faith Laforme is a happy baby living in Lockport.

“Very smiley,” said her mother, Maria. “You would never know she is sick.”

Summer is very sick. So sick, to keep her away from any new illness, we didn't get to meet her for this story. She has Biliary Atresia. It's a rare liver disease infants develop in their second month. She needs a transplant.

A liver doesn't need to be from a donor who has passed away. Summer can receive a piece of a liver from a living donor.

“I never knew anything about it,” said Maria.

So, now the LaFormes are looking for someone with A or O blood and is a smaller build. A donor only needs to give a small sliver of their organ. It grows back.

“Like a piece of hair. It just grows right back,” said Maria.

Since this story has been published, dozens of people have commented on our social media saying they would help.

"I'm a mom, so anything about children and children in need or sick children it jumps at me. It always has. It always will," Laura Taylor of West Seneca said.

Taylor fits the description. However, organ transplants are an exact science. The match needs to be perfect. Here is a list of some of the requirements according to the University of Rochester Medical Center:

  1. The decision to donate must be voluntary and without evidence of coercion.
  2. Donor age should be > 18 years and < 60 years of age. (In the case of the 7-month-old girl, an adult would donate a portion of their liver.)
  3. The donor will have a compatible blood type with the recipient.
  4. The donor BMI should be less than or equal to 35 or the body weight distribution is deemed favorable to donor surgery.
  5. The donor will be free of diabetes.
  6. The donor will not have significant history of thrombosis or embolism.
  7. The donor will be free of active/untreated substance abuse.
  8. The donor will be free of uncontrolled psychiatric illness.
  9. The donor will be non-reactive HIV.
  10. The donor will be free of uncontrolled systemic disease.
  11. The donor will be malignancy free. If there is a history of malignancy, each patient is evaluated on an individual basis.
  12. The donor will not be pregnant
  13. The donor will be asked to stop smoking for at least 4-6 weeks before surgery

“Like a piece of hair. It just grows right back,” said Maria.

This kind of response is good news for the Upstate new York Transplant Service, an organization pairing donors with patients. However, UNYTS said more still needs to be done.

"The gap between the number of people listed and the number being transplanted continues to grow," Jessica Kruszka, director of organ services, said.

An average of 800 people in Western New York need a transplant on any given day.

A compatible donor's liver grows to become Summer's liver. For information on how to become a living donor you can head to Maria’s Facebook page.

There you can also find information about two upcoming fundraisers for Summer's family. Because when she finds a match, they'll be gone for a while.

“When we're down in Pittsburgh, we'll be down in Pittsburgh for three months,” said Maria about the surgery.