London Free Press | Kelly Pedro
Monday marks the start of organ and tissue donor awareness week.
Weeks after their son was born, doctors told Krista and Mark Elliott he needed a liver transplant or he would die.
The news was devastating.
"You're an absolute hostage in that situation," said Mark. "There's a clock ticking and it's a real clock and you're literally going to die - there's no ifs, ands or buts about it - unless somebody registers."
Tristan was born with biliary atresia, a rare life-threatening disease where tubes that carry bile from the liver are blocked, damaging tissues in the liver and eventually damaging the vital organ beyond repair.
For nearly a year the London couple watched their baby deteriorate - his eyes turning yellow, his lips not cracking a smile, his energy drained, his body barely able to consume food, his belly swollen with fluid so badly Tristan couldn't sit up.
Mark said his son was green because his system was so poisoned.
"We were waiting and waiting and watching him get sicker and wondering how long he could go on like that," said Krista. "It was torturous."
But then, when she thought her son was at the end of his rope, they got the news: a new liver was available for Tristan.
"I'll never forget the moment when (doctors) came in and told me. Somebody lost their life and you feel this mix of grief for somebody else who lost somebody they love and you feel relief that finally Tristan has a chance," she said. "It's just a real mix of emotions."
Tristan was almost a year old and weighed just six kilograms when the 12-hour transplant surgery was done.
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