Baby overcomes odds with aunt’s lifesaving gift


FREETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) — A baby girl fighting insurmountable odds has been given new hope thanks to her family.

At just five weeks old, baby Sophia was diagnosed with a serious liver disorder. 

Now that diagnosis has brought her tight-knit family in South Eastern Massachusetts even closer together.

“It’s a feeling you just can’t describe.”  Lisa House still gets emotional recalling the birth of her first grandchild, Sophia.

“My daughter’s twenty months old now, she is in a summary, my little spit-fire, my little warrior. She has been through more in her almost two years of life than most people go through in a lifetime,” Kristen Murphy said.

Sophia was born with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts.  It occurs in approximately one out of every 10,000 to 15,000 births.

“My first reaction was, I gotta fix this, that’s what moms do. I couldn’t, I couldn’t fix it,” Lisa House said.

The diagnosis brought desperation, and anger from from Sophia’s mother.

“That feeling quickly went to, what do I need to do to save my daughter because this can’t be it for us,” Kristen Murphy said.

The family found out a living donor may be the answer.  Little did they know they weren’t going to have to look too far.

“I’m O negative blood, so I thought when they first started talking about an organ transplant, and she may need an organ transplant, I thought oh, well, maybe it’s something I can do,” Lori Pacheco said.

Lori Pacheco is more than just Sophia’s mother’s aunt.

“My best friend , she’s my best friend, she’s the older sister I never had,” Murphy said.

Their emotional bond turned tangible when Pacheco donated 17-percent of her liver to Sophia.

“You can’t really comprehend it, even put it in to words how it makes you feel,” Pacheco said.

“She saved Sophia’s life, she is doing amazing now.  The doctors couldn’t believe how fast she bounced back,” Murphy said.

“It really did just open up a whole new chapter for our family.  Never lose hope, never,” House said.

Sophia is now on the road to recovery with a positive prognosis.  If you’re feeling encouraged by this story, the family encourages you to become an organ donor.

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