by Nadine Morton | Central Western Daily, Australia
Life for Jayden Skrtic was hard from the beginning, when he was born with biliary atresia, a rare disease that affects about 20 Australian children each year.
The disease destroyed his bile ducts, causing extensive liver damage and leaving him in desperate need of a liver transplant.
Fortunately for little Jayden, his rescuer was his own father, Tom Skrtic, who donated part of his own liver.
Today, 12 months since the transplant operation, Jayden is a bundle of joy for his relieved parents.
Jayden’s mother Virginia Skrtic said that, at only six months of age and with failing health, Jayden was put on the organ donor list and told to wait.
“We were told the sicker he got the less chance it [the transplant] would be successful,” she said.
As a backup plan, Mr Skrtic had a compatibility test done, and was a match for his young son.
Mr Skrtic said once he found out he was a match for Jayden, he went on a diet and took care of himself to ensure his liver was in the best possible condition for his son.
With Jayden getting sicker each passing week, plans were put into motion and a dual operation was carried out for the transplant.
Mr Skrtic’s operation was at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, while little Jayden lay waiting on an operation table at Westmead Children’s Hospital.
“I commuted between both hospitals, it was not very nice,” Mrs Skrtic said.
“Today he’s perfect, in 12 months we’ve only had one hospital admission with a fever, which can be a sign of rejection.
“He’s a boisterous, bossy boy who gets into everything boys get into.”
As well as Jayden is going now, he will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life.
“The body will always look at the liver as a foreign object,” Mr Skrtic said.
With both of them doing well after the transplant operation, Mr Skrtic urged other people to add their names to the donor register.
“Discuss it with your family ... you need to register, just ticking the box on your licence doesn’t put you on the list,” he said.
“Everyone needs to know, because the family has the ultimate say in organ donation.”
For information and to register as an organ donor visit www.donatelife.gov.au and www.donorregister.gov.au.