BRIGID O’CONNELL HERALD SUN JULY 20, 2014 7:00PM
THE first thing six-year-old Tom Wu did when he got home from hospital, was to run to his room and jump in and out of bed a dozen times.
Since he was five-months-old, Tom has needed nightly dialysis to do the job of his destroyed kidneys.
He was diagnosed with Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, where abnormal blood clots clog his kidneys, at four months of age.
Tom must wait in bed until 8am until he is unhooked from the peritoneal dialysis machine, and until the night of the transplant, he had never been outside after dark.
But the gift of a new kidney — Tom being one of three children to receive a different donated organ at the Royal Children’s Hospital within 24 hours of each other — has given him a second chance at life.
“On days like Christmas he can just jump out of bed now,” said mum Kylie Roberts-Wu.
“It’s nice to walk past his bedroom and see him sleeping like a normal child, rather than seeing all the machines glowing in the dark.”
Neither Tom’s family, nor that of 12-month-old William McNeill who received a new liver and 10-year-old Bipana Siwakoti who now has a new heart, knew at the time they were part of a paediatric surgical record earlier this year.
As the families were called to say a match had been found, elective surgery waiting lists were juggled and maydays sent to rally 35 medical staff from the RCH and Austin to make the transplants possible.
A new liver was the only cure for South Australian baby William who was diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, where a protein made by the liver to protect the lungs from damage is stuck in the liver and causes scaring.
By the age of 10-months, his development had stopped and he relied on a nasal gastric tube.
“I can’t keep up with him now,” he mum Carly McNeill said. “He is standing, crawling, walking assisted. We cannot thank that family enough. It’s given us a family.”
Bipana’s family relocated from Nepal to Melbourne so she could have the life saving heart transplant after hers started to fail, as doctors told them nothing could be done.
Her aunty Srijana KC said Bipana had returned to school and could play for the first time.
“She’s like newborn. It’s a second chance. I think God is here,” Mrs KC said.
“She can do anything, whatever she wants.”
All the parents said they were now turning their attention to writing to the donor families.
“We think of them all the time, especially when you have a really fantastic day and you appreciate that life is normal now,” Mrs Roberts-Wu said.
“There are no words that can say thank you enough.”
To register as an organ donor go to donatelife.gov.au