Loving father gives half his liver to save two year-old daughter’s life

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

A COUNTY Limerick father is continuing his recovery this weekend after donating half his liver to save his daughter’s life.

A COUNTY Limerick father is continuing his recovery this weekend after donating half his liver to save his daughter’s life.

“You would do anything for your child,” Martin Sweeney, Bruree told the Limerick Leader last February.

Little Isabel Sweeney was diagnosed with the chronic liver condition biliary atresia when she was just a few weeks old. It is a rare disease of the liver that affects around one in 10,000 babies and causes the liver to fail.

The two and half year old was assessed for a liver transplant from her father in King’s Hospital in London in March and the operation took place on Tuesday.

“Isabel needed a liver transplant and she has a rare blood group. Me donating a liver means Isabel won’t have to wait. Your liver is made up of a right lobe and a left lobe. They will take approximately 30 to 40 per cent of my left lobe and judge it on how much Isabel needs,” said Mr Sweeney.

He said his daughter’s condition has been complicated by her rare blood type, and has made it harder to find an organ donor.

“It is B negative. The statistics show only 2 per cent of the population has this blood type. It was fantastic when I found out I was a match because my blood type is B.

She also has a condition situs inversus which means that all the organs are swapped around on her body.

Her heart is also on the other side of her chest. I feel helpless at home and this can help her,” sad Mr Sweeney.

The loving father said Isabel has his and her mum, Nikki’s heart so “a little bit of liver won’t hurt as well”. Both are now recovering in hospital and it is hoped they will both be home safe and well in the coming weeks.

Before the operation, Mr Sweeney said that the real heroes were Isabel and Nikki.

“She is an amazing, amazing mother. She is up in Crumlin hospital sleeping on floors, beds or getting no sleep. I go up at the weekends because I have to work,” said Mr Sweeney.

And you won’t find may little girls as brave as Isabel.

“Isabel is an amazing kid and just gets up and keeps going. She is our only child and we are so lucky to have her. She is like any other two and half year old. She does lots of laughing and loves Peppa Pig,” said Mr Sweeney,

Isabel’s parents first noticed there was a problem when she had a prolonged bout of jaundice after she was born. She underwent a procedure to relieve the symptoms when she was a few months old, and it is hoped that the liver transplant this week will give her a new lease of life as she has touched so many with her brave story.