A blessing in disguise: an American mother saved her own life when routine testing for her liver donation to her son found something crucial – and critical – about her own state of health.
Kerri Evensen of Wisconsin was going through an MRI as part of a series of tests to show if she could donate a portion of her liver to Auden, her 4-year-old son. During the test, doctors found an aneurysm near her kidney – without her having any prior idea or showing any symptom.
“[T]he aneurysm could have burst and could have been severely life-threatening," recalled Tom, her husband. An aneurysm takes place when a blood vessel swells due to a certain weakness.
The mother’s heroism paid off: Kerri underwent surgery to treat the aneurysm, and she is a candidate once again for the desired liver donation for her son.
She said she would never had any other health examination done to detect the aneurysm in due time. “So he [Auden] absolutely 100 percent saved my life, by checking ... to save his life,” said Kerri, a full-time mom of four.
Auden is diagnosed with alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare liver disease where the organ fails in the creation of a key enzyme. The condition makes it difficult to control his blood sugar and has resulted in enlarged liver and spleen. The toddler can only play for a couple of minutes before “overheating” and getting a fever.
After a first failed liver transplant, Kerri will be donating 40 percent of her liver to him, with doctors aiming for mid-November for the second attempt. The mother and child will be in different hospitals but connected from a tunnel.
The transplant, according to Tom, will solve all current related ailments of Auden. “[T]o finally put a date on it is really exciting,” said Tom of his child’s transplant, for which they waited almost five years.
For Auden’s older sibling, Alex, the wish is for his baby brother to feel like Superman post-operation. He wanted him to finally be about to run around and play, which he couldn’t do at present at the hospital.
The road ahead for both Auden and Kerri will be a long and rough one, but Kerri believed it was a natural feature of any mother’s love. “If he's going through it, I wanna go through it with him,” she said, strong in her conviction to be her son’s own live donor.
If Kerri qualifies as a liver donor, another child can receive the organ originally intended for Auden.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist in the family’s financial needs.