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Kilsyth toddler’s new lease on life thanks to liver transplant at Royal Children’s Hospi

Kilsyth toddler's new lease on life thanks to liver transplant at Royal Children's Hospital | Leader Newspapers East Melbourne | Local Community News VIC | Knox Leader | Manningham Leader | Maroondah Leader | Whitehorse Leader | Waverley Leader | Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader | Free Press Leader | Herald Sun

LOOKING at energetic Kilsyth toddler Annie Kerr, it’s hard to believe she had such a tough start to life.

Annie, 2, had a liver transplant at the Royal Children’s Hospital when she was just seven months old.

Her mum Kerryn Billman said Annie was diagnosed with biliary atresia in February, 2011, when she was eight weeks old.

PICTURES: See how far Annie has come since her transplant

It meant Annie’s bile ducts were blocked, bile was unable to pass and her liver was damaged.

Doctors tried to save her liver but an operation was unsuccessful.

Annie became more unwell, and was hospitalised for long periods for treatment for bronchiolitis (a serious chest infection).

But she managed to fight back, and after two weeks in intensive care, she was back on the liver transplant waiting list.

A week and a half later a donor was found, and on July 23, 2011, Annie had the life-saving surgery, receiving a third of an adult liver.

Mrs Billman said she had real confidence in the hospital staff and in her daughter’s ability to survive the huge 10 1/2 hour surgery.

“We knew she was a real fighter she had come this far,” Mrs Billman said.

Since the surgery Annie has come along in leaps and bounds, and Mrs Billman said she and her husband Justin Kerr were so grateful to both the hospital and their donor family, who they think about often.

“We were celebrating because our daughter got a chance to live, but we knew there was a family grieving at the same time,” Mrs Billman said.

“On her transplant birthday every year we let balloons go, to let our donor know we appreciate them.”

Mrs Billman encouraged people to donate to this year’s Good Friday Appeal.

“If we didn’t have the hospital we wouldn’t have Annie,” she said.

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