An 11-year-old Winnipeg girl battling a rare liver disease has been called to Toronto for a transplant.
Allexis Siebrecht and her family appealed to the public for help earlier this year after the young girl’s condition began to deteriorate.
“Yesterday I was totally not expecting it at all. I had just finished reading Nikki Tynes’ email regarding that she had just finished the testing to be a possible live donor. An hour later, I got a call,” said Liz Siebrecht, Allexis’s mom.
Allexis was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia when she was a baby. The disease affects about 10 in 20,000 infants, and impedes bile transport from the liver to the small intestine, which damages the tissue.
In late March, Allexis’s family was told she would need a transplant within three to six months in order to survive.
After desperate public pleas and two offers of liver lobe donations from live donors that didn’t work out, Liz got the call Saturday night around 11:30 p.m.
“I was like, ‘What do I do? Is this really happening? Then the woman spoke to me, calmed me down and just told me, ‘It’s going to be OK,'” said Liz. “We got to the airport at 12:30 a.m., and we left.”
Liz said Allexis will likely go into surgery late Sunday night or early Monday morning. The surgery is expected to take between eight to 12 hours.
“I’ve just been keeping really close to her, holding her hand, encouraging,” she said. “She’s thinking positive. She’s actually saying she’s really excited, and that she’s not scared.”
Allexis’s grandmother will fly out Sunday night, and her siblings will arrive later in the week.
Liz expects to be in Toronto for six to eight weeks if Allexis does well.
“If there is rejection and unforeseen stuff, we could possibly be here longer, but we’re going to be positive,” she said. “We’re just relaxing [right now] and staying close to each other – cuddling. Just waiting patiently.”