Archive for Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lawrence toddler finally gets liver transplant, and ‘it’s working beautifully’

October 2, 2008


How to help

A yard and bake sale to benefit Addison Whitenight's family will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, at Broken Arrow Park, 29th and Louisiana streets. Family and friends have donated items.

Also, the family will be collecting brand new toys to donate to Children's Mercy Hospital.

"They are desperately in need of new toys," Addison's mom, Shawna Davis, said. "So, we are going to have a birthday party and all of her presents are going to go there. She doesn't need any toys."

Second Chances

Three Lawrence families share one common bond they encourage others to be organ and tissue donors. This 3-part series explores the life-changing nature of organ donations.

Editor's note: We are revisiting the story of a family whose life has been affected by organ donations. The family and two others were first featured in February 2008.

The call finally came for the little east Lawrence girl who has been fighting for her life.

Addison Whitenight, who will turn 2 on Oct. 21, received a new liver last week at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., after waiting 16 months on the transplant list.

"She's wonderful," her mother, Shawna Davis, said. "She's white. She's pink. I've never seen her that color."

That's because she was born with jaundice and diagnosed with biliary atresia at age 6 weeks. Only one in 15,000 babies are born with the disorder each year in the United States. It's like a birth defect where the drainage system in the liver didn't form correctly.

Since then, Addison developed rickets or a softening of the bones. She broke her arm and leg in April and her other leg in July because of her fragile physical condition. Each incident required casts for several weeks. Addison also has struggled to gain weight. Just before the transplant she weighed 19 pounds and was on a feeding tube for 18 hours a day. She also received 20-hour calcium infusions on top of 10 medications orally and was hooked up to a heart monitor most of the time.

The only definitive cure was a new liver. Since receiving that gift from Denver during a six-hour surgery on Sept. 24, Shawna described her daughter as a "completely different kid."

"She's even spunkier than before," she said of Addison, who managed to smile, laugh and give her older brother, Cameron Whitenight, a hard time in spite of her illness.

Her nurse agrees.

"She's doing great," Angela Tendick, hepatology program coordinator at Children's Mercy, said. "Her surgery was textbook perfect, and Mrs. Addison had herself off of the ventilator within 24 hours."

Tendick expects Addison to return home next week if there are no complications. The one-year survival rate for liver transplants is about 95 percent for children Addison's age.

"It's always a new fear," Shawna said. First, it was whether they would get the organ donation and whether it would be in time. Now, it's a fear that Addison's body will reject the new organ.

"Rejection is in the back of my mind. We are not even thinking about it," Shawna said.

So far, Tendick said there are no signs of rejection.

"It's working beautifully. Her body loves it," she said. "You just wait for the perfect donor and that's what we got for her."

Still, the next year will require close monitoring. There will be lots of lab work and frequent adjustments to medications. Like before, Addison's mom and dad, Jeffrey Whitenight, will have to limit her time outside the home and watch her exposure to possible infections.

But, much will be different.

"It's going to be hard to get back to normal because for the past two years it's been our life," Shawna said. "I am not going to know what to do without having a feeding tube to hook up. You know, just going and laying her in the crib and that's all I have to do.

"Before transplant, I felt like there was never going to be an end. I felt like this is never going to be over, but now I do."


Angela Heili 9 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations!!!!!!!! I saw this little girl in the doctor's office one day, and she just touched my heart. I am so very glad that she got a new liver!!!! This article just made my day!

LJWREADERLD 9 years, 3 months ago

Congrats Shawna & Addison! Can't waiti to see you at the office. This has touched all of us!

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations, Addison and family!! Our family will keep you in our prayers. Children's Mercy is awesome. We were there with our son, then 14 months, last December and this past March. They did everything they could do for our family and more. We also stayed at the Ronald McDonald House and they were great, too. We do everything we can now to donate to both organizations. Good luck :)

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 3 months ago

oscarfactor: "finally! Some good news. Score one for humanity."tangedit: "... Score one more for humanity.

bizarre 9 years, 3 months ago

I am someone who had to make the difficult orgain donation choice just moments after the death of a loved one, it is refreshing to see another life touched by the gift.The choice I made to have my loved one cut up gave me nightmares wondering if I did the right thing! But knowing that another life was saved softens the worries.

Buggie7 9 years, 3 months ago

This is a wonderful story thank LJW and prayers and thoughts go to the whole family and those who have stood beside them!!!

Wendy magillicutty 9 years, 3 months ago

I know a family that just made the choice of donating organs; I hope this story helps them heal too.

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations! All of us at MamaMaddy's house are so thrilled for you guys. Last week was truly a great week for blessings. Lots of love and prayers to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Miller 9 years, 3 months ago

FINALLY! Some good news. Score one for humanity.

littleone 9 years, 3 months ago

I know it is a hard choice to donate organs. If more people knew just how many people benefit from donation, I think more would. The numbers are just overwhelming how many die waiting for an organ transplant. People are dying every day waiting. Donate people. This little sweetheart is proof that it does work. She is an angel. Prayers go out to the donor family.

shannanturner1 9 years, 3 months ago

I am so happy for this family. I have been following the articles about her precious lil life. Thank God every day that he brings us through our troubled times. She is going to be just fine! Congrats!

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