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Gift from Mom

Liver transplant gives three-year-old girl new lease on life


Peri and Claire Erickson

Three-year-old Peri Erickson, liver-transplant recipient, with her mother, Claire Erickson, liver donor. Photo by RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post.

Peri Erickson was born with biliary atresia, a rare disease that creates blockages in the bile ducts inside and outside the liver. Infants who suffer from this condition are unlikely to live more than 1-2 years without surgical intervention.

The best long-term treatment for biliary atresia is a liver transplant, but the wait for a donor organ can be a long one.

When Peri's mother, Claire Erickson, learned that she could donate a part of her own liver to her daughter, she didn't hesitate. She began making plans with her husband, Justin, to prepare for the double operation, which would take place far from their home in Red Lodge, Montana.

On March 21, at University of Colorado Hospital, Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret removed a fifth of Claire's liver. The tissue was taken immediately down the street to Children's Hospital Colorado, where Dr. Michael Wachs transplanted it to three-year-old Peri.

A month and a half later, mother and daughter are both doing well. You can learn more of their story in the media: