Isaac Bell a ‘courageous hero’ after liver transplant at just eight months old
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Five-year-old Isaac Bell is proving a gold medal star in track and field events – after having life-saving transplant surgery at just eight months.
The youngster was born with a rare liver disease and was fortunate enough to have a whole liver transplant with another baby donor being found in 24 hours as his situation became critical.
Now Isaac’s family say he is as lively as any five-year-old, though they have to keep a close eye on him concerning illness and infections, and he has proved it by returning from the British Transplant Games in Scotland with a haul of medals.
Competing at the event in North Lanarkshire, he won gold in the 25m dash and long jump, silver in archery and the ball throw, and bronze in the obstacle race.
Isaac – who lives with dad Alex, 44, mum Shelly, 42, and sisters Emily, 13, and Ashleigh, seven, in Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich – was also a member of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Courageous Heroes team that won Best Liver Team and were also overall event winners for the 21st year in a row.
Mr Bell said the family were concerned for Isaac when he was born because he suffered jaundice which would not clear and was also underweight. After a series of tests it was found he had been born without a bile duct and was suffering from a rare liver disease called biliary atresia.
Isaac’s mum was ready to donate part of her liver – the organ can regenerate – to Isaac but a transplant match for a whole liver was found within a day.
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Mr Bell said: “The liver came from a baby that had sadly died from meningitis but without that donor Isaac would not be here today. It’s such a difficult decision for a family to make at a time like that but we thank them so much for what they did for Isaac.
“We want to thank all donor families because without them other children would not have such opportunities.
“Allowing an organ donation can give people that chance of life. There was no guarantee the operation would work but it has for Isaac and has given him that chance and that has been wonderful.
“He is a lively little boy – always running around and never sitting still. We are so proud of him.”
The Games was Isaac’s third and he is aiming to take part again in next year’s event when he will move from the babies to five-year-olds category to the six to eights group.