Life Stories

Charlotte's Amazing Story

My mum took me for my six-week-old check at the doctors and they noticed I was still very jaundiced.  That's where it all started; I was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia.

I’m now 29 years old and had a liver transplant in 1989, at the age of 18 months.  I happened to be living in Texas at the time; that saved my life as they were not doing paediatric liver transplants in the UK.  At the time I was only the 113th child to have ever received one in Texas.

I am so incredibly grateful to still be alive and so well this many years on.  Doctors are always shocked when they see my medical history and often comment that they can't believe how well I look.  Not sure what I am supposed to look like, mind you - but I’m glad they are pleasantly surprised! 

I was told that having a baby would be high risk, but last year I had a little boy who is doing really well and thriving.  I stayed on my anti-rejection medication throughout the pregnancy and only had a small issue after giving birth where my bloods showed a change in my liver function so my medication was slightly increased.  My baby was also born quite small, but otherwise everything was fine and I am so so so lucky to have him. 

Anyone thinking about organ donation should just do it.  It's given me 27 years of life so far and a son to love – so, basically, I am grateful for my entire life. 

My organ donor was a child who sadly passed away in a car accident.  I can't even imagine how hard it must have been for the family to be thinking about other people at the time, especially back when organ donation wasn't as 'normal' as it is now; I think the decision they made was very admirable.  My mum wrote a letter to thank them.

Charlotte Mackenzie