A 46-year-old woman from New York and a 4-year-old boy from Dubai have been forever linked in an unlikely way after one donated her liver to the other.
After Becky Cable donated a palm-sized piece of her liver to save Ahmad Akkad’s life, she said he feels like he is a “part” of her, the Cleveland Clinic wrote in a press release.
Ahmad was born with a rare genetic disease called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, which can cause liver disease and lead to liver failure. He first showed symptoms around age 2, when he was experience jaundice and extreme itching. His liver was also rapidly deteriorating, which caused a buildup of toxins in his bloodstream.
Doctors told Ahmad’s parents that he would likely die without a liver transplant.
— Cleveland Clinic (@ClevelandClinic) November 21, 2017
Organ transplant candidates often remain on the transplant waiting list for long periods of time as their health slowly declines due to not enough deceased organ donors, the clinic stated. Living donors give hope to patients in desperate need of a transplant.
Cable had originally volunteered to donate her liver when a close friend needed a transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. When her friend was not able to undergo surgery because she was too ill, Cable agreed to remain on the donor list.
“I thought, ‘What’s the difference if I know the person or I don’t know the person?’” she said. “I’m willing to give if there’s anybody who needs it.”
Cable and Ahmad turned out to be a perfect match.
When Ahmad’s parents received the call that he had a donor, they were ecstatic.
“It was so hard. Nothing was helping Ahmad at all,” Aya Akkad said. “But when we received the call that we had a donor, I was so happy. My son would have the chance to live in good health!”
Almost immediately after the surgery, Ahmad transformed into an active toddler.
“He doesn’t like to sleep at all. He just wants to play – and that’s a good thing. Every time I see him walking, running, playing,” Aya Akkad said. “I think about his donor, and I want to thank her.”
Last month, Aya Akkad got her chance to thank Cable when they met in Cleveland months after the simultaneous surgeries.
“I feel like Ahmad is a part of me. He’s family now,” Cable said. “He is just so beautiful and so healthy and so…alive!”
(H/T: Cleveland Clinic)