Charlie Gendron (4 years old) – Liver Transplant Recipient
Charlie was born on December 13, 2012. By three weeks of age, Charlie showed signs there was something wrong with the function of her liver. After months of ongoing testing and medical care, Charlie displayed severe scars on her liver that would indicate she would require a liver transplant one day. Charlie was 10 months old before the medical team could diagnose her with Neonatal Sclerosing Cholangitis (NSC), a rare autosomal recessive condition. It is characterised by persistent conjugated hyperbilirubinemia clinically and bile pugs, porto-portal bridging fibrosis with copper associated protein deposition. In December of 2013, shortly after her diagnoses, Charlie unexpectedly had a varicose vein ruptured in her esophagus during a routine procedure. She was air ambulanced to CHU St-Justine Hospital in Montreal five and a half hours from their home in Alma. As Charlie’s disease progressed at a rapid pace, hospital staff began preparing to list her for a transplant. It was the only option to save her life. The family prepared themselves for the reality it could take up to a year to find a match for their tiny daughter. Due to the generosity of another family, Charlie only had to wait one week on the transplant list and on February 4th, 2014 Charlie was given a second chance at life. During the family’s battle to save Charlie, the finances were stretched thin since the family remained by Charlie’s side in Montreal. The David Foster Foundation assisted the family with their mortgage and utilities back home so they could remain together through the transplant recovery.
“The help of the David Foster Foundation made a big difference for us because we have been able to be together during this adventure. We grew together instead of going through the hardest times of our life apart” -Valerie Oulette, Mother of Charlie.
Today, Charlie continues to spend a few weeks a year in hospital due to her low immune system since the transplant. In the past 6 months, she has been hospitalized with infection and minor liver rejection, but can go to daycare, play with friends, and continue to develop like any four-year-old little girl.