AS WELL as thanking mum for everything she does one Solihull family will also mark 30 years since their child has an organ transplant.
Margaret Alder’s life turned upside down in 1990 when she took her 13 year-old son, Chris, to the doctors for a routine appointment.
The GP noticed the whites of Chris’ eyes were yellow – after blood tests came back inconclusive Chris was referred to East Birmingham Hospital (now Heartlands Hospital) where he was diagnosed with Wilson’s Disease – a rare genetic disorder that sees copper build up in organs including the liver.
Following his diagnosis, Chris was on medication for a few weeks but then suddenly deteriorated and he was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where Margaret and her husband Mike were told that his liver could not be saved and that without a liver transplant he would last only a few months, possibly weeks.
Margaret said: “The hospital told us it was so rare they hadn’t seen a case for 10 years.
“It was an unreal feeling to be told this about a child who just such a short time ago appeared perfectly healthy.
“At that time, paediatric liver transplants were not as common as they are now, and we knew that there was a one in five chance that he would not survive.
“However, without it, he had no chance, so we took him home to await the all-important call.
“It was a very difficult time for Chris because he had to isolate completely, he couldn’t go to school or have any friends round, neither could he be left alone.”
Seven agonising weeks later the miracle call came – a suitable liver became available.
Chris was taken to the Queen Elizabeth hospital for his surgery which lasted seven and a half hours and after two and a half weeks in hospital, Chris was allowed home to continue his recovery and he has continued to thrive ever since.
Margaret and her husband were supported through this time by Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, which provides information and emotional support for families and children with liver disease, where Margaret volunteers.
She added: “Thirty years after his transplant, Chris continues to do well.
“He works part time at Asda in the warehouse.
“He is currently shielding due to the pandemic but looking forward to when he can go back.
“His health has been generally good in the 30 years since his transplant and apart from six monthly check-ups and medication he lives a normal life.
“Chris has always maintained a positive ‘take each day as it comes’ attitude which I believe has really helped.
“We know how lucky we have been as a family which is why I’m so keen to help other families, as we know just what they are going through.”
For more visit childliverdisease.org