A mum and dad are looking forward to a happy and healthy 2013 after their two-year-old tot survived against the odds.
Little Kayleigh Dobb, from Highfield, Hemel Hempstead, has just celebrated a Christmas her parents feared she would never see.
The youngster was born with the rare liver disease biliary atresia and in December 2011 her condition begun to rapidly deteriorate.
Parents Naomi Payne and Peter Dobb and 14-year-old big brother Kieran – who turns 15 on Monday – were told that her only hope was a liver transplant.
“It was devastating. We spent the whole of Christmas hoping that it wouldn’t be her last and waiting for that phone call to say a liver had been found and that the transplant could go ahead,” said Naomi, of Marchmont Green.
Thankfully Kayleigh did not have to wait long and just after Christmas the family got the call they had been waiting for. Since the lifesaving surgery at London’s Kings College Hospital a year ago Kayleigh has transformed from a lifeless youngster who was unable to sleep and was in constant pain to a thriving toddler, who likes anything to do with cartoon character Hello Kitty.
Her restored health meant the little one got to tuck into a traditional Christmas dinner on the big day after opening her presents from Father Christmas.
“She has always had a great appetite but because her liver wasn’t functioning properly, she wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed from her food,” said Naomi, 38. “Kayleigh will always need medication and special care but it’s wonderful to see her thriving.”
The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation has provided the family with information and support since Kayleigh’s diagnoses. The charity’s Catherine Arkley said: “Each day in the UK, two children are diagnosed with liver disease and it invariably means a lifetime of care. We are delighted that Kayleigh is doing so well now and will continue to be there with information and support for Kayleigh and her family as she gets older.”
For more information visit childliverdisease.org