Local mom shares baby's battle with liver disease

ARGOS, Ind. (WNDU) October is Liver Disease Awareness Month, and one local mom is sharing her daughter's battle with a rare liver disease to draw attention to the cause.

In January of this year, a little bundle of joy named Lillian made her grand entrance into the world. Her mom, Nicole Sharkey, soon noticed the little one wasn't gaining any weight and experiencing jaundice. After countless trips to the doctor and tests, physicians diagnosed Lillian with biliary atresia at just five weeks old. The rare disease of the liver and bile ducts typically occurs in infants.

At five weeks old, Lillian underwent her first surgery and was quickly placed on the transplant list. "It was terrifying," recalled Sharkey. After weeks of waiting, the Sharkey's got the call that there was a possible donor. Lillian was a match and received a life-saving transplant at five months old.

"Without organs, Lily wouldn't be here today," said Sharkey. "There was a real possibility we could have lost Lily. I'm just so grateful that my daughter is here and I get to be with her every single day." Lillian is now a happy, healthy 8-month old baby. "She is going to be on medicine for the rest of her life," said Sharkey. "She's always going to have a compromised immune system and it will take her longer to heal from a common cold or a scratch."

October is Liver Disease Awareness Month and Nicole is determined to share Lillian's story to raise awareness for organ donation. "Organ donation really benefits so many people," said Sharkey. "One person can save so many different lives and it's a hard decision when it's your loved one, but it's their legacy that will live on in that other person."

To learn more about organ donation or to become an organ donor, click here.