Reporting Reg Chapman
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the time of year when we get together with our families and celebrate. And this year, one Twin Cities family really has a lot to be thankful for.
One year ago, an infant in need of a lifesaving transplant was given just days to live without a new liver. A donor came through just in time, creating a Christmas miracle that the rest of her family will never forget.
Now always on the move, it’s hard to keep up with the 18-month-old Carolyn Cooper.
“To see her happy healthy little girl almost 2 years old is a remarkable thing,” said father Bryant Cooper. “Just a miracle. Last year at this time, we were sitting in a very different place.”
Carolyn was born with a condition called Biliary Atresia, which blocks the tubes carrying a liver’s fluids to the gallbladder. She was at Amplatz Children’s Hospital during a scary time for the Coopers.
Without a liver transplant, 90 percent of children with the condition die before their first birthday.
“She became very emaciated she became very jaundiced and had failure to drive issues and things of that nature,” said Bryant.
On Christmas Eve morning, after more than two months on the waiting list, a donor liver became available.
Surgeons operated through the night, but Christmas morning there was bad news — the new liver had not survived. Doctors gave Carolyn less than 48 hours to live.
Within hours there was a Christmas miracle. On Christmas night, a second donor liver became available. Carolyn was again rushed into surgery.
“Truly a miracle,” said Bryant. “We were blessed with a Christmas miracle last year.”
Now Carolyn is full of life, trying always to keep up with her big sister Nola. Both parents say everyday with Carolyn is a blessing.
“Through one person checking that box, we get to have her here to share another Christmas wish,” said mother Stephanie Cooper. “And we get to have her for years and years to come.”
Carolyn has not been back to the hospital for any major issue since the surgery. The Cooper family thanks Lifesource and all the doctors at the University of Minnesota for her life.
The anniversary of Carolyn’s Christmas miracle comes as a new bill goes into effect. Starting Jan. 1, Minnesotans can donate $2 to support organ, tissue and eye donation when they get a new driver’s license.