By: Karla Sullivan
“To my sweet Nathan: at the age of 8 months, you have touched so many hearts already. We pray each night for you in hopes of a donor. After everything you have gone through, you deserve the best chance at life. Your grandparents love you along with your Mom and your Dad. We will never stop fighting for you.” The grandparents promise; a new life of wellness and happiness for their grandson.
Biliary Atresia is a rare and progressive liver disease which was diagnosed shortly after Nathan Lau’s birth. Presently, Biliary Atresia is the most common liver disorder that affects neonates and the cause is unknown. While the disease occurs in only one of every 10,000 to 20,000 births, Jennifer Lau, Nathan’s Mom and a resident of Montgomery, IL, describes the tireless and courageous struggle to save her son.
Nathan underwent a procedure called Kasai Portoenterostomy. This operation connects the bile drainage from the liver directly to the intestinal tract. It is most successful when done before an infant is 8 weeks old and Nathan had just made the cut off. Eventually, cholestasis (backup of bile in the liver) will occur, causing liver damage which leads to a liver transplant. 80% of children who undergo the Kasai Portoenterostomy will eventually need to have a liver transplant.
However, the procedure failed and Nathan has been hospitalized several times at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago with numerous infections. Currently, he is approved and waiting for a new liver. What always seems like one problem after another, Jennifer Lau was involved in a recent massive layoff which will certainly create even more tremendous financial implications for the family. Though not intended to be a story about unemployment, her job loss is that bewildered twist of fate, often given, to be with her son.
“Nate continues to giggle and enjoy life with a wisdom greater than most,” one grandmother comments. But family members can’t even revel in the typical and sometimes annoying pronouncement of Nate’s four new teeth that can produce crankiness and fever. The fever may not be a result of teething but another anguished trip to the hospital to monitor his failing liver.
Chicago’s Organ Transplant Association, COTA, a national charity, guides communities with inspiration and hope in helping provide funds for life-saving transplants and does not charge for its services or take a percentage of funds raised.
Noodles for Nate, the Lau’s first family fundraiser, sponsored by COTA, will be held at Lucky Strike Lanes in Lombard, IL on September 29th from 12 pm to 3 pm that includes bowling, lunch, soft drinks and a silent auction. Click on the link for more details. You can make a donation online if you are not able to attend the event.
Miracles occur every day, spiritual gifts from one above, as many of us would describe. But Nathan Lau’s story makes me believe that we are just as powerful to create miracles for each other by giving what we can to those who need it the most. All considered, that’s really what we are here for in the first place. To also learn more about Nathan and his family, you may click on a child’s cry for hope.
Karla Sullivan writes on health, family, relationships, education and being a Baby Boomer. You can read her column at www.examiner.com/x-43799-Chicago-Career-Coach-Examiner She also writes for Western International University on student retention and have published over 100 articles. She has written for the University of Phoenix Focux, Chicago Tribune, AARP, Reunion magazine and Sacred Journey.