Amy is a mother of 2 boys. Her oldest boy, Zeke, was born with biliary atresia. Life with a sick child is never easy; there are countless doctors’ appointments and constant worry about the safety of your child.
“Everything was controlled and scheduled. Everything needed to be clean and sterile. He couldn’t play on the playground with other kids because his spleen could rupture. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was almost mourning the loss of his childhood. He couldn’t be a regular kid; careless and free. Everything was so regimented”, explains Amy.
“When Zeke was put on the waiting list when he was 6, it was a very stressful and scary time. Family wanted to help but didn’t know how. We were all in survival mode. I was very anxious and vulnerable. I even developed a bit of social anxiety because people would ask me questions about Zeke wherever I went. I know they really cared about him, but it was hard to recount everything all the time. It’s not like you can unload on people and tell them ‘I am worried he is never going to have a family. I’m worried that he and his brother will not become close and be able to walk through life together’. No one wants to hear those things”, says Amy.
It went on like this for a while, until they finally got “the call”. They rushed to Cincinnati Children’s hospital, and the rest is history. “It was so surreal, waiting for that gift in the hospital. I didn’t know how to act. I was grateful for this chance for a better life for my son, but I knew where it had to come from” she says.
Zeke is now 2 years post-liver transplant. When we asked Amy what Zeke was able to do now, she said “he can wrestle with his brother, play sports, ride a bike, I can HUG him without being afraid of hurting him or having to go to the ER. He can be a kid now”.
“We are filled with overwhelming gratitude for our donor. He is amazing and beautiful to me. He literally gave my boy life, which to me, is the most sacred act someone can do for someone else. If I could say anything to our donor family it would be ‘whoever you are and wherever you are, I think of you on a daily basis. You have saved my son’s life. I literally have gotten to see him be a big brother and see him do all the things we feared he would never be able to do. He is laughing, walking, talking and experiencing life because of your loved one. We will be forever grateful for their sacrifice’.”