On a typical spring day in New York, Matilda can be found running through the park with her older brother, Parker, as she explores nature through the curious lens of a toddler. Energetic, curious, and imaginative, Matilda resembles your typical, well-loved three year old. She can often be found in her rain boots, even when there are no puddles!
Her parents, Tyler and Kelly, are excitedly starting the process of enrolling her into pre-school, a milestone in any parent’s life, but particularly special for Matilda and Parker’s parents. Kelly, who documents her life in her blog Cloudy Day Gray shared this, “To us, she is a normal three year old. She plays typically, she loves to run around, she gets mad and throws fits, she loves chocolate, and reading books. Totally normal.”
But three years ago, typical and normal were not words that were being used to describe Matilda. Instead of naps, chocolates, and days in the park, Matilda’s days consisted of needles, scrubs, and days in the hospital. Instead of researching pre-schools, Tyler and Kelly were researching ways to save their baby girl’s life. At just nine days old, Matilda’s parents were told that without a lifesaving liver transplant, Matilda wouldn’t make it.
When Tyler and Kelly became pregnant with their second child, they were thrilled to discover they would be bringing home a younger sister for their son Parker. And like many children who become an older sibling, Parker also shared his Mom and Dad’s excitement, and looked forward to helping out with the new baby.
On September 21st, 2012, Matilda was born. However, not long after she was born, her parents noticed she had no appetite and was not gaining weight. After being told several times that she would grow out of the phase, her parents persisted. Something wasn’t right.
Matilda was finally diagnosed with jaundice, which is fairly common in newborns, but Matilda’s case was much more severe, and indicated acute liver failure.
A risky transfusion treatment was attempted in order to help Matilda; however, half way through the procedure, things took a turn for the worst, and an MRI was performed in order to assess the condition of Matilda’s liver. The outlook was grim, and to add to the complications, Matilda experienced acute loss of breath and was placed on a ventilator immediately. Matilda was no longer a sick baby with jaundice. Matilda was fighting for her life, and without a liver, it was a fight that she would not win.
Find out how one generous gift saved Matilda and others.
Despite being on life support and multiple near death experiences, little Matilda pressed on, fueled by the love of her parents and the support of skilled, caring medical professionals. But eventually time was running out and doctor’s prepared her parents for the worst as they were told to say their goodbyes. But on the night she turned six weeks, a transplant surgeon delivered life-altering news. They found a liver match for Matilda. It was not until Kelly and Tyler were home with Matilda that they learned more about the liver their daughter received. The liver was a gift from a two-week old who had passed. Upon the baby’s passing, the mother of the newborn decided that despite her loss she would give, and she chose to donate her child’s organs. Not only did Matilda receive a liver, but the lives of seven others were impacted by the selfless choice one mother made, and the gift her newborn baby gave.
It’s been three years since Matilda received her new liver. Time between hospital visits now grows longer, as both her parents and doctors recognize the miraculous turnaround the young toddler has made. Today Matilda lives every day to the fullest, as if she knows deep down that every day truly is a gift.
Do you know that nearly 10,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant in New York?
New York ranks 50th out of 50 states with regard to the percentage of residents registered as organ donors.
Studies show that 9 out of 10 New Yorkers support organ donation, but only 27% of New Yorkers are registered.
1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives and improve up to 50 lives through tissue donation.