'All we ever think about': Ottawa girl, 8, desperate for liver donor
Published Friday, February 5, 2016 8:47AM EST
An Ottawa-area family is turning to social media to help find a liver donor for their little girl, hoping that what worked for the owners of the Ottawa Senators works for them.
Eight-year-old Gianna-Lynn Favilla, of Russell, Ont., suffers from both Crohn’s disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, which has clogged her bile ducts and severely damaged her liver.
Specialists at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, say her condition has deteriorated to the point that she now needs a transplant.
Gianna-Lynn can no longer go to school and has to eat through a tube, which the once active girl admits is hard for her.
"I can't really, like, play outside that much and stuff; like playing with my friends outside at the park,” she told CTV Ottawa.
Gianna-Lynn’s family says, to save her life, they need a liver transplant from a living donor. After failing to find a match among family and friends, the Favillas are appealing to the public for help through Facebook.
Gianna-Lynn’s mother, Sue Favilla, says it was difficult decision to ask strangers for help.
"Obviously, putting our daughter's face out there for all to see and exposing our situation, we thought about it. But really, at the end of the day, all we ever think about, all we really want is to find a donor for Gianna,” she said.
Using social media to find a donor is a strategy that worked for the owner of the Ottawa Senators, Eugene Melnyk. Last year, Melnyk appealed to the public for a liver transplant and found one.
Earlier this week, he tweeted his support for Gianna-Lynn.
The Favillas hope that a donor can be found before Gianna-Lynn becomes too sick for the operation.
The family is looking for a healthy donor with Type O blood (positive or negative) between the ages of 18 and 55.
Living donor transplants in children involve transplanting a small portion of the left lobe of the adult donor’s liver to the child. The donor’s liver eventually grows back to within 90 per cent its original size.
The donation operation is major surgery and requires a five to 10 day-hospitalization as well as a two-month recovery.
Potential donors could fax a required health history form to Toronto General Hospital's Living Donor Assessment Office at 416-340-4317.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Eric Longley