Devine woman saves infant’s life by following a tug in her heart to register as a living donor

A Devine woman and her family finally met the baby whose life she had a part in saving by becoming a living organ donor.

The 10-month-old child was in desperate need of a liver, but doctors said finding a pediatric match would be challenging.

Keri James says it started with a tug in her heart after reading a newspaper article about the need for a liver donor for the local baby in her Devine community.

“What better way to show God’s love than to an innocent child?” she said. After a conversation with her husband and two children, James decided to register to become a donor.

A donor for the specific child James had signed up to help was no longer needed, but she knew she could make a difference in someone else’s life. And a few months later, she did.

Marley, the 10-month-old child, was born with a blocked bile duct, and without a liver transplant, she wouldn’t survive more than two months from the time of her diagnosis.

Marlene Trinidad, Marley’s mother, said it was such a scary diagnosis she felt her world was falling apart. But a week later, doctors had a liver ready. “I hope others hear about the miracles that can happen with the simple act of organ donations,” Trinidad said.

A few months after the surgery, Marley is acting like a normal baby. On Friday, she had the chance to meet her donor for the first time.

James held Marley in her arms during their introduction.

“It’s just a beautiful little baby that just I can’t believe that I was privileged to have a part in and helping her get healthy again,” James said.

Dr. Danielle Fritze, with the University Health Transplant Institute, said finding a match for infants like Marley is always more complicated.

“The smaller the child, the harder it is because, in addition to looking for a healthy liver, we’re looking for a liver that will fit inside a small, you know, a small baby or an infant,” she said.

Fritze says celebrating donors like James is important.

“This is the best of humanity. This is generosity and kindness and love, and this expression that saved a child’s life,” Fritze said.

Trinidad says it has also inspired her to register to be a donor and someday give the same gift to another family.

“You give life and second chances. I would like to have the opportunity someday to donate and to give someone else life,” she said.

Both Marley and James are doing well in their recovery. James says she’s grateful for her friends and employer that supported her and her family through the entire process.

If you would like information on how to be a donor, visit the Living Donation page on the University Health website.

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