PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ella Diekmann, 19-months-old, was born with an often-fatal liver disease called biliary atresia.
In desperation, her family started a Facebook page called “Hope 4 Ella.” Amanda Crow saw the page, discovered that her O-positive blood type matched, and donated a portion of her liver for the transplant.
It turned Ella’s life around, and on Wednesday, Amanda and Ella met at Children’s Hospital for the very first time.
“Once I saw the blood type, and I just knew that I was healthy, a light came on,” Amanda says. “And I said, like, I could help this girl.”
Transplant surgeon Dr. George Mazariegos says Ella should have a full recovery.
“That portion of the donated liver, which is about a quarter of our size liver, grows in Ella. It is growing with her, and it will grow and provide all that she needs for her lifetime. And it recovers in the donor as well,” said Dr. Mazariegos.
Ella’s mom, Suzanne Diekmann, is grateful for the dramatic change in her daughter’s health.
“Donating life saved her life,” says Suzanne. “Gave me my life back. I get to be a mom. I get to see her grow. I get to have all those little milestones that the doctor told me you couldn’t have if nobody stepped forward.”
“I just can’t imagine being in that mom’s shoes, and how they were all feeling so helpless,” Amanda says. “None of them were matches. I knew I was healthy and a perfect match. How could I say no?”