The Family Unit

Parents Thankful After Liver Transplant


Parents of twins want to wholeheartedly thank the anonymous donor who gave part of a liver to their daughter Binh, who is recovering well at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto.

The successful transplant took place within the past month.

“It was exceptionally brave to come forward to give this incredible gift of life to someone they’ve never met,” says Major Michael Wagner, logistics officer, CFB Kingston. “We’re looking forward to a long life with the girls and to bringing Binh home with us soon.”

The twins have Alagille syndrome, a genetic condition that arises due to a lack of bile ducts in the liver, which can lead to jaundice, poor nutrient absorption and in some cases, end-stage liver disease.

An anonymous donor donated a portion of their liver to three-year-old Binh. The donation surgery was performed at Toronto General Hospital (TGH), University Health Network (UHN) and the transplant surgery took place at SickKids within the past month.

Binh’s twin sister Phuoc is doing well following her February 10 liver transplant, which was donated by her father, Michael.

The twin’s doctor, Binita Kamath, staff hepatologist in the Transplant and Regenerative Medicine Centre, at SickKids said, “We expect the girls to go to school, to play, and do all the normal activities that kids do, with the proviso that they need continued medical attention and need to continue to take immune suppressant medications to allow them to keep the livers that they have received.”

Living donor transplants reduce the time a patient needs to wait for a liver transplant and provide a survival advantage compared to using a deceased donor organ. SickKids completed its first living-related liver transplant in 1996, just ten years after beginning its Liver Transplant Program.

The SickKids Liver Transplant Program is the largest of its kind in Canada, performing approximately 30 liver transplants a year; 20 of which are live donor transplants done in collaboration with TGH and are usually from parent to child. The Liver Transplant Program is just one of the clinical transplant programs run by the TRMC, which provides over 70 solid organ transplants a year.

While Michael and Joanne Wagner are thrilled that their twin daughters received their life-saving living donor transplants, they noted that many children and adults are still waiting on the list for an organ.

In fact, 1,600 people are on Ontario’s waiting list today, with 211 of them waiting for a liver. According to Trillium Gift of Life Network, every three days someone dies waiting.

Says Ronnie Gavsie, President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life, “If everyone in Ontario became a donor we would be able to meet the need, so in honour of the Wagner family, don’t hesitate, don’t put it off, please register consent at”.

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Vicki L Morrison

Thanks to her husband's military career Vicki reinvented herself as a writer so she could work from home, while taking care of their three kids. A former MFRC executive director Vicki is a passionate advocate for military families who loves telling their stories.

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