Alexandria Gold turned three on March 13. A recipient of an organ donation shortly after her birth, the lively three-year-old Hamilton girl celebrated her birthday with family and friends.
Alexandria became jaundiced very young like many infants, but unlike other infants, her jaundice got worse instead of going away.
Alexandria was soon diagnosed with Biliary atresia just two weeks after she was born. Biliary atresia is a condition that leaves the common bile duct in the liver underdeveloped and without a transplant will lead to liver failure. At the beginning of August 2010, following the diagnosis, Alexandria underwent tests at the Hospital for Sick Kids to reveal that her tiny five-month-old body was healthy enough to undergo a transplant procedure.
“Every day I found myself staring at Alexandria, mentally comparing to the last time I looked at her. ‘She’s acting better, right?’ or “Is she a lot yellower today?’” wrote Jessica Gold, Alexandria’s mother.
On August 26, 2010 Gold received a life-changing phone call, a compatible donor had been found for Alexandria, a healthy liver was ready for her.
“Looking back now, the four weeks following her transplant is a blur, but at the time, 24 hours felt like an eternity,” wrote Gold.
Following this whirlwind of events, Gold started up an organ donor support group– Life Donation Awareness Association– in February 2012. Currently with about 15 members, the group includes organ recipients, recipient family members, those waiting for their Gift of Life, Donor family members, and living donors. Their aim is to encourage more Canadians to consider what an organ donation could mean to a child like Alexandria.
“You don’t have to be personally affected by organ and tissue donation to be a part of our group, one can just believe in the cause,” wrote Gold.
Feature photo: Susanna Scarpetti