Saturday, May 21, 2016

A life put on hold until a donor can be found

Geoff, Imogen, Elsie and Alexandra Constantine. Photo / Greg Bowker
Fourteen-year-old Imogen would love to be a singer, or a photographer, but before planning a future, she needs a new liver.

Imogen Constantine tells a good dad joke. She loves animals and the environment and walking the hills at Long Bay, where resident cows graze and gaze in equal measure.

In her last year of intermediate school she learned to play the piano so she could sing Adele's Someone Like You in a school music competition.

And she won best performer.

These days she does a soulful version of Vance Joy's pop-culture-laden indie anthem Riptide.

Imogen is bright and mature beyond her 14 years. She has big plans for the future.

First, she needs a new liver.

"I have auto-immune hepatitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis," she tells the Herald on Sunday matter-of-factly, with just a little help on the tangle of medical jargon from her mum, Alexandra.

Both conditions are auto-immune diseases and rare - only about one in 10,000 people is affected by auto-immune hepatitis. Imogen's body is attacking itself and her liver is the target.

The cause isn't known as it can be sparked by an infection or a virus. She suffered giardia at 3, but no one knows what exactly brought on the condition. Continue reading
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