A 1-year-old infant from New York is being deemed a "miracle" baby after surviving COVID-19 and a liver transplant within two months.
Kasen Donerlson, who will celebrate his first birthday today, developed a rare disease called biliary atresia when he was just two months old, his mother, Mitayah Donerlson, told WMBF News. According to the outlet, biliary atresia causes blockages in the pathways from the liver to the gallbladder.
And in order to survive, Kasen needed a liver transplant as soon as possible.
"When his liver began to decline, we had to, kind of like, push up the stakes," Mitayah told the outlet.
During the time, Mitayah brought her son back and forth for visits to UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburg, where he was placed on the waiting list for a liver donor.
Then, in mid-November, 10-month-old Kasen began developing a fever and soon tested positive for COVID-19. Mitayah said that she is still unsure how her son contracted the virus, given she had been keeping him at home for his health. Other members of the family also tested positive for the virus as well, she said.
"I didn't think he was going to make it," she told WMBF News. "I didn't think he was going to be able to suppress the COVID."
But Kasen managed to fight through COVID-19 and his fever broke within four days. "He always seems to wow his doctors. He is a blessing, and he is a miracle," Mitayah said.
Two weeks later, in December, Mitayah learned the joyous news that her baby boy finally had a liver donor.
"My heart was so overjoyed that that's all I could do was cry," she said.
Kasen received his transplant on Jan. 3 and is currently healthy, his mother said. But Kasen is still required to stay at the hospital for the next six months as he recovers, meaning Mitayah and other family members likely have to to relocate to Pittsburg.
"The financial hardship of that is very hard," Mitayah said of finding a residence in the Steel City. "I have to juggle both homes and my living arrangements here."
To help with Kasen's medical expenses, Mitayah and her family have set up a GoFundMe page. As of Thursday, the page has raised more than $16,850 of its $30,000 goal.
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