Then and Now: Will's Liver Transplant Story
Will Andrews is a typical sixth-grade boy who loves spending time outside playing basketball and baseball. He also enjoys swimming, bowling and playing video games. Most people who only know him through school have no idea that when he was a toddler, his parents feared they were going to lose him.
A few weeks after he was born, Will was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a life-threatening condition that ultimately could have led to liver failure. He received the gift of life with a new liver at American Family Children's Hospital when he was 19 months old, but experienced complications afterward that required another transplant. He received his second liver just after he turned 2.
Now, Will lives the life of a normal 12-year-old - aside from the fact that he has monthly blood draws to make sure his liver is functioning properly. "I've gotten pretty used to it by now," says Will, who informs his phlebotomist each month which vein works best.
Will is a talkative, goofy kid who has a good group of friends, says his mom, Shelley. She still worries about him occasionally - especially when he comes down with a cold that lasts a long time. But she's grateful that his new liver has worked so well and allowed him to thrive. She and his dad, Josh, still communicate with the family of Will's second liver donor.
"When I think about that time, I get emotional," says Shelley. "But I'm just so glad he's healthy."