Mom's Group on Facebook Lead to an Organ Donation That Saved a Baby's Life
When a mom crowdsourced a group on Facebook to find a living liver donor for her 11-month-old, another mom stepped up to the plate, noting that it's best for all parents and kids when moms lift each other up.
Moms often find comfort, support, and advice in their favorite Facebook groups. But a mom named Beth Rescsanski also found a donor for her 11-month-old baby boy Callum "Cal" who was in need of a liver. Andrea Alberto, 32, was a complete stranger to Beth and Cal, but was inspired to help the baby boy after seeing Beth's post in the mom's group they're both members of.
"People can say a lot of things about mom’s groups on the internet," a fellow group member named Robin Bliven wrote alongside a photo of Alberto and Cal that went viral. "Here’s what I can tell you about mine. When this little sack of sugar, Cal, needed a LIVER from a live donor in order to survive, over 100 moms from my group called to be screened as potential donors." Rescsanski found the perfect match in Alberto.
Bliven gave Alberto props for being a single mom who left her two kids—sons Jack, 8, and Ben, 4—at home and traveled from Boston to New Haven to "give away a piece of her body" so Cal could live.
Alberto told TODAY that, for her, making up her mind to donate was simple: "I knew organ donation was something I would be willing to do, so when I found out Cal was being listed for transplant, it was a very easy decision."
She elaborates to Parents.com, "It is better for all of us and all of our kids when we lift each other up, and pitch in when someone needs it. There are some ladies in my mom group that say 'there's no such thing as other people's babies,' and if we could all look at each other's children that way, the world would be an even more incredible place."
Rescsanski agrees, singing the group's praises to Parents.com, "It is amazing to be surrounded by so many supportive and thoughtful mothers. They are incredible at rallying around families in need, and Andrea stepped up in the biggest way possible to give my son the ultimate gift."
According to the Mayo Clinic, liver and kidney donation are the most common types of living-donor organ procedures, and the popularity of living-organ donation has increased dramatically in recent years as an alternative to deceased-organ donation due to the growing need for organs for transplantation and shortage of available deceased-donor organs. More than 6,000 living-organ donations are reported each year in the United States.
In this case, Cal simply needed a piece of a living donor's liver, which would give him the opportunity to regenerate to normal size within a few weeks.
Alberto wrote on Facebook that during donor evaluation, she was told that donors themselves don't "get" anything out of it. But she couldn't disagree more. As the mom of two wrote on Facebook, "Looking back at these two weeks, I disagree. The outpouring of love and support, the way family, friends, strangers, have come together to make this remarkable event possible has allowed me to experience some of the best stuff the world has to offer. I am so grateful I was able to walk this path and for all those who walked with me. I cannot adequately express my gratitude."
She tells Parents.com that by sharing her story, she hopes she'll help people realize that living liver donation is an option. "There are so many people of all ages waiting for a healthy liver," Alberto says. "You don't need to be a superhero to be a living organ donor. You can be an average single mom who eats too many Sour Patch Kids. If you are healthy and able to rearrange a few weeks of your life for surgery, you could provide decades of health for someone who will die without a healthy organ."