Mother's Day Miracles: These 3 Moms Saved Their Daughters' Lives by Becoming Liver Donors
All three surgeries occurred over the course of three months.
Over the course of three months, three mothers turned to the same option to save their daughters' lives: Becoming live liver donors.
Margaret Rollins of Mississippi was the first mother of the three to donate a piece of her liver to her 1-year-old daughter, Adeline.
At just 6 weeks old, baby Adeline was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare liver disease that occurs in infants.
As her condition worsened, Adeline was listed for a transplant on Dec. 7, the day after her first birthday.
After extensive research, Rollins chose to bring her daughter to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), mostly because they accept live donors, an option Rollins wanted to consider.
In January, the family discovered that Adeline was a candidate for a live donor and in early February, Rollins and her husband were both tested.
About a week later, they received the good news that Margaret was a match.
"I got the phone call and couldn’t help but cry — it was such a relief," Margaret told InsideEdition.com. "I finally was going to be able to do something for her because the entire time we watched her struggle."
On Feb. 20, Margaret was the first living donor at CHOA since 2014 and she said it felt so right without any concerns, aside from the fact that she couldn't be with her baby during the surgery.
Margaret’s surgery was across the street at Emory University Hospital, while Adeline was waiting for the piece of liver at CHOA, but both Dr. Joseph Magliocca and Dr. Andrew Adams worked on the procedures together in both hospitals.
Since the surgeries, both Margaret and baby Adeline are doing well.
“She is thriving,” Margaret said of Adeline. "She is doing everything she should be doing. She's starting to walk. Every single day when she does something new, I have to thank God and I have to cry."
Adeline has an older brother, Walker, 3, and Margaret said the two laugh and play and it is the most beautiful thing she has ever seen.
Following Adeline’s surgery, two other baby girls suffering from biliary atresia came to CHOA and also received transplants from their mothers.
On March 26, 9-month-old Julia Navarro of Lawrenceville, Ga., received a portion of her mother Analy’s liver.
Nearly a month later, Grace Nguyen, of Lilburn, Ga., gave a portion of her liver to her 13-month-old daughter, Norah on April 16.
"The beautiful part of the living donor is it's a perfectly healthy liver from a perfectly healthy donor," Dr. Magliocca said in a statement. "That allows us to take a piece from mom and have her liver regenerate, and she's got more than enough to be healthy, and we can give a piece to the child and that will grow, and grow with the child for life."
Both Analy and Grace reached out to Margaret via Facebook to ask about the process.
"Facebook is such a powerful platform for liver moms," Margaret said. "I went in blind, so it was nice I was able to give them a little direction of what they’re going to experience."
Margaret said it was therapeutic for her to help the mothers and explain what was going to happen.
She even sent a picture of her scar to Analy, who then nicknamed the mothers "scar sisters."
“It can be a scary journey, but overall it’s an amazing one. These women are incredibly strong and courageous, so what better sisterhood than this?” Analy said in a statement.
Margaret and Analy are seeking a way to give back to the live donor community, a community that is close to their hearts.
Margaret said it is very important for her to link with other liver moms because the group is so small and everyone rallies one another.
"Being connected with other liver moms and sharing my story is so important to me because with a rare disease like this, there was nothing I could find that was positive," she said. "Being able to reach out to other families that understand, you can’t put a price tag on that."
In April, Margaret asked for people to become donors on RegisterMe.org, where her start goal was to get 15 people to become organ donors. When April came to a close, 35 people had registered.
“It’s so great it felt like something I can do to give back,” she said. “If Adeline was able to save someone’s life through donation, that’d be pretty remarkable.”
Not only does Margaret consider herself lucky for the opportunity to be a live donor, she has taken a role of encouraging more people to become organ donors, since many people remain in need of organs.
“I want everybody in the whole world to understand organ failure affects newborns to older adults," she said. "Miracles do exist and Adeline is living proof of that... all the living liver babies are proof of that."
Margaret is looking forward to spending her Mother's Day with her family at home in Columbus.
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