Alice Yelf and her son Bertie
This happy five-year-old is back at school after receiving a life-saving liver transplant from his mum Alice.
Bertie Yelf was born with biliary atresia, a life-threatening disease that causes the organ’s bile ducts to become blocked.
Thankfully his three-year-old brother Bobby is free from the condition.
It has been a long road for his family, from Wateringbury. Eight weeks after he was born his family had to rush to hospital with Bertie having to undergo surgery.
At the start of this year doctors first suggested the youngster needed a transplant – and there was a long wait for donor organs.
Things came to a head during the summer when his liver failed entirely.
But in a stoke of luck tests had just established that Mrs Yelf was a suitable donor and emergency procedures kicked in.
The pair underwent nine-hour emergency operations at Kings College Hospital in London.
Surgeons removed part of the adult liver, then carefully transplanted it into Bertie. The pair had to stay in hospital for 10 days.
It has proved successful and her son is now enjoying playing with his classmates at Wateringbury Primary School.
Amazingly the family’s recovery was quite quick and currently Bertie needs to take daily medication and have regular check-ups.
Mrs Yelf said: “The change in Bertie is dramatic. It is lovely to look at his eyes and see that they are no longer yellow but clear and sparkling.”
She described how at the end of last term Bertie had so little energy he could barely walk up the garden. Now he is unstoppable.
She said: “He couldn’t wait to get back to school.”
Mrs Yelf said it had been a tense time until it was established that she could be a match.
“Bertie used to say to me ‘Mummy I just want to feel better’. The thought that I could do something which meant Bertie didn’t have to suffer any longer just carried me through.”
She said the care and treatment they had both received at Kings had been wonderful. Although she admits to being a little sore, she should suffer no long term ill effects herself. Her liver will eventually regenerate.