Gift of life: little Willem celebrates his third Christmas at home

2012-12-27 00:00

WITH his new liver, a five-year-old boy in Sasolburg was able to celebrate his third Christmas at home, enjoying his gifts like any healthy boy.

“I’ve got a brand-new little liver inside me,” Willem Scott said yesterday, pointing to his stomach.

His four-year-old sister, Anelle, told excitedly how her brother was hospitalised when he was still a baby.

Willem was born on May 2, 2007, and when he was three months old, he was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare disease that prevents toxins that are filtered by the liver from draining out of the body.

“Doctors said he needed a liver transplant within a year to survive,” said his mother, Estelle.

She said Willem was frequently in hospital with complications and that he almost died when he started bleeding internally.

Her husband, Ben, attended Angus Buchan’s 2009 Mighty Men conference and prayed for a sign.

“He was on his way home from the conference when he received a call that a liver was available for Willem,” she said.

Willem had been on a waiting list in October 2007 and received a liver two days before his second birthday in 2009.

“The doctor said after the transplant that Willem’s liver was purple and full of holes … the transplant was just in time,” she said.

Willem said he may not play rugby or slide on his tummy because of the transplant. For the rest, he climbs and runs about like any other little boy, but under the watchful eyes of his parents.

Estelle Scott said the importance of organ donors could not be overemphasised, and that if the donor’s parents had not contacted the organ transplant organisation in 2009, her little Willem would not have had a liver, or a life, today.

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