Donor’s Gift of Life Brings Amazing Changes to Area Child

Four and a half months after surgery, four-year-old Penelope Hansen, the daughter of Shawn and AmberJean Hansen of Seymour, is fully recovered from end stage liver disease after receiving a liver transplant from an anonymous living donor at Yale New Haven Hospital.
SEYMOUR — Ask a three-year-old girl what she’d like for a present and you’ll likely hear “a princess dress,” “a puppy” or “a pony.” But last summer, a month before her fourth birthday, Penelope Hansen of Seymour received the greatest gift of all in the form of a liver transplant from an anonymous, living donor.

Seymour residents Shawn and AmberJean Hansen call their daughter “Pea.”

At just six weeks old, Pea was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare congenital liver disorder that occurs in one of every 10,000 to 15,000 live births in the U.S.

A rambunctious toddler, Pea grew more and more ill. By age 3, she was in end-stage liver disease, suffering from ascites (water in the stomach), a severely enlarged spleen, stomach bleeds, esophageal varices (like varicose veins in the throat), low platelet counts, loss of appetite due to her stomach being pushed up high in her chest cavity, a heart murmur, difficulty breathing, fatigue, jaundice and frequent bleeds from her nose and gums.

She was hospitalized several times. Continue reading

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