Alberta toddler thriving months after undergoing rare surgery
Nicole Bogart with files from Mark Villani, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, April 20, 2019 2:50PM EDT
An Alberta family is grateful to be spending Easter weekend under one roof months after their 13-month-old daughter underwent a rare life-saving surgery.
Lukah Mitchell underwent a complete multi-visceral transplant in December after having a large tumour removed from her abdomen. The rare surgery involved replacing a number of organs, including her liver.
“It still blows me away,” Lukah’s father Kody Mitchell told CTV Calgary. “Today she was playing in hospital pajamas that we definitely got from the hospital and it was just a surreal moment to see her in that outfit to be playing at the house.”
Lukah’s fight began in October 2018, after doctors discovered the large tumour that was affecting several of her internal organs.
“Blood supply was cut off to her organs and so she was flown by STARS to Edmonton,” said Tanis Mitchell, Lukah’s mother. “She needed a multivisceral transplant, which is four to five organs transplant by the same donor. It’s a really rare transplant to get.”
The toddler spent the next seven weeks in and out of a coma, fighting for her life, until a donor was found.
Remarkably, Lukah received a multi-organ donation from a baby of the same age and blood type. The surgery essentially replaced her entire abdomen.
“We got the call and like four hours later she was in surgery,” said Tanis Mitchell.
“It was the most emotional, crazy time for us to realize that some other baby and family had chosen to donate in order to save our baby’s life.”
Throughout the ordeal, over $54,000 was raised in support of Lukah’s family on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe. With hundreds of supporters following the campaign, the website became a place for her family to share updates and find support.
“Following the multi-visceral transplant, Lukah has slowly progressed to where she is today,” reads and update posted in February.
“Big picture, though, shows a fierce girl who is adapting to her new normal like an all-star.”