Bloomington, Indiana – October 1, 2013 -- October is the month full of raking leaves, falling temperatures and kids in costumes. This Halloween, one Texas toddler will truly be a ‘super boy’ as he celebrates his transplant anniversary … and his second chance at life.
Audric Beaulieu of Missouri City, Texas, was born on August 24, 2010 -- much to the delight of his parents, Kevin and Andria. They were ecstatic to finally meet their first-born child, to see his beautiful face and to hold him on that special day. But just one day later, Kevin and Andria were told something was wrong with the baby’s liver. Before Baby Audric was discharged when he was four days old, the pediatrician told them the diagnosis was uncertain and that further tests would be required to identify why the baby’s bilirubin level was elevated. It could be due to an immature liver that needed time to grow, or it could be something much more serious … only time, and tests, would tell.
During the next seven weeks, Baby Audric would undergo multiple blood tests and various medical scans. Each test yielded inconclusive results and each test prolonged Kevin and Andria’s emotional suffering. Finally, an invasive surgery and subsequent Kasai procedure was performed on October 13th, the result of which was the conclusive diagnosis of biliary atresia, a deadly liver disease. The Kasai procedure improved the baby’s liver function in the short term, but doctors cautioned that a liver transplant would someday be required to save his life.
The new parents continued on with their lives the best they could. Nearly six months after the Kasai procedure, Audric began showing side effects of liver disease. From May through August 2011, Audric suffered from esophageal varises, which required weeklong hospital stays and multiple blood transfusions. The bleeding episodes occurred month after month. Each time they returned home with their baby, they knew what they were ultimately facing … and they knew they were going to need financial help. Kevin and Andria reached out to Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) for fundraising guidance and assistance.
Because of the recurrence of varises, Audric was placed on the liver transplant waiting list in late September. After only 12 days, a matching living donor was miraculously found. Kevin and Andria received the call at 4:00 a.m. on October 6, 2011, and Audric received his new liver on that day. After a one-month stay at Texas Children’s Hospital, Audric and his family returned home to enjoy life once again.
According to Kevin and Andria, “From diagnosis through liver transplant surgery, our journey has been emotionally exhausting. COTA provided hope to our family by providing a portal on the web to see other affected families and to watch their successful fundraising efforts and support. It has been uplifting to see that we are not alone in our journey.”
Since receiving Audric’s gift of life, Kevin and Andria have had the amazing opportunity to meet, and thank, the family of the liver donor. “Medical miracles happened many times throughout Audric’s first year of life. It is a miracle that we live during a time of advanced modern medicine. The family of our liver donor giving this selfless, life-giving gift is, however, the true miracle that we witnessed. We pray for their family every day,” said Kevin and Andria.
Just like a chapter from the Superman saga … post-transplant, Audric is strong and thriving. Dad Kevin recently wrote: We no longer feel the immense weight pressing down on us. The dark skies have cleared and we feel the calming, warm sun rays shining on us again. We knew we would get to this point. Like everything in life, it just took courage, time, and patience. Be strong and don’t be afraid.
Audric’s Superman costume is the perfect choice for this COTA hero!
For more information about the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, or to find a COTA family in your area, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.