Arbroath boy waiting for the call for liver transplant

Kenzy Oliver with dad Nicky and mum Michelle at Warddykes Primary
Kenzy Oliver with dad Nicky and mum Michelle at Warddykes Primary

An Arbroath youngster has been put on the liver transplant waiting list this month, and he and his family are waiting for the call to say a match has been found.

Kenzy Oliver was born with a rare liver condition, biliary atresia, which is when inflammation develops within the bile ducts around the time of birth.

The inflammation can occur in any of the bile ducts both inside and outside the liver and this leads to bile duct damage, reducing the flow of bile, which causes scarring of the liver.

The seven-year-old’s parents, Michelle and Nicky, were told earlier this year he needs a transplant after the liver condition he was born with brought on a breathing problem - hepatopulmonary syndrome, which causes shortness of breath and low oxygen levels in the blood of the arteries caused by broadening of the blood vessels in the lungs of patients with liver conditions.

Kenzy has been placed as a high priority on the transplant list and the youngster, who is in Primary 3, is now on oxygen 24 hours a day.

And his school, Warddykes Primary, is raising money towards travel expenses for him and his family.

Dad Nicky explained: “When Kenzy was born he kept bringing milk back up and as a result had stopped growing. He also had jaundice.

“When he was less than six weeks old we took him to Ninewells where he was diagnosed with biliary atresia.

“He was then transferred to King’s College Hospital in London for further treatment as Ninewells has links with the hospital. When he was just over six weeks old he had to have a Kasai procedure, which has prolonged the life of his liver.”

A Kasai procedure involves removing the blocked bile ducts and gallbladder and replacing them with a segment of the child’s own small intestine. Due to the operation, he has a hernia, Kenzy also has an enlarged spleen.

Nicky continued: “He went for a check up in London in January and they found he had problems with his breathing due to his liver not being able to get enough oxygen.

“The doctors told us he would need a transplant.

“He’s on oxygen 24 hours a day. He has an oxygen machine at home and one at school and we have portable tanks for when we are out and about with Kenzy.

“The doctors needed to check his heart before he was put on the liver transplant list. Ninewells and King’s College pushed for him to have it done as quickly as possible, which was really nice of them.

“On September 13 he went live on the transplant list.

“He will have the transplant at King’s College Hospital. There are only seven hospitals in the whole of the UK where they can do transplants and only three where they can do them on children - one in Leeds, one in Birmingham and King’s College in London.

“When we get the call to say that a liver has been found for Kenzy we need to be ready within an hour. We will be rushed to an airport and airlifted to London.

“The issue is if we get down there and the liver is not compatible then we will have to find our own way home.

“Even though I have a job and work long hours we’re at the hospital most weeks and all the travel costs money.

“That’s when Lorna Kidd, who works at Warddykes Primary, said she wanted to fundraise for Kenzy.

“It came out of the blue one day when we were dropping Kenzy off at school. She’d retired from fundraising but after hearing more about his story she said she wanted to help.

“Sharon McIntosh, a close family friend, is also helping with the fundraising for Kenzy.

“It’s touched our hearts.

“Kenzy is a lovely wee boy, he just needs an extra bit of help.

“It’s good that the school is helping raise more awareness about liver conditions. You don’t hear much about liver conditions, it’s not something you hear people talk about, especially not in children.

“We have been very lucky that Kenzy has had seven years with his own liver.

“You’ve got to take every day as it comes, that’s how we look at it.”

A Justgiving page has been set up to raise £1000 towards travel costs for the Oliver family.

A raffle is also being held at Warddykes Primary.

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