A Little One with Citrullinemia Gets Gift of a Lifetime in Time for the Holidays

What do restored clawfoot tubs, spelunking meetups, and first-grade school pictures have in common? They can all be found on social media sites on the internet. But other than connecting people on a “social” level, social media can also help connect those with needs that are more critical. According to an article in the Star Beacon, this is what happened when a mom decided to find a liver donor for her baby who was diagnosed with citrullinemia type I (CTLN1). To read the full article, click here.
Mara Petrochello was a teeny-tiny newborn when she was diagnosed with a disease with a very big and scary name—citrullinemia type 1. This rare inherited condition is characterized by the accumulation of ammonia and other toxins in the bloodstream due to a missing enzyme. This disease is typically identified shortly after birth, and a liver transplant is the only known cure. To learn more about this rare disease, click here.
Because the liver is able to regenerate itself, a qualified donor can donate up to 25 percent of their own liver with few risks. And that’s just what Mara’s mom went looking for.

Baby Mara had been approved for a transplant this past spring and was waiting for the right match to come along. Waiting for a donor can be painstaking for a family, and Mara’s condition took a turn for the worse in early fall. That was when Mom took to social media. She created a Facebook page pleading for a liver donor for her one-year-old baby.

Potential donors would have to match Mara in three categories: blood type, body mass index, and health history. In no time at all, the site had more than 28,000 views and led to a large number of potential donors interested in going through testing to help.

After processing through the prospective donors, they found one that was an exact match. Mara’s surgery is scheduled, and her family is deeply thankful to everyone who has sent them words of encouragement and support. They are particularly thankful to the donor who connected with them through social media. The donor works in health care, and after reading the Facebook appeal, simply felt it was the right thing to do.

We wish Mara and her donor all the best, as we continue to marvel over connections made every day that defy explanation.

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