Against all odds, Hannah Wallace, 4, will finally begin school after undergoing three liver transplants and spending one-sixth of her life in the hospital.
“Hannah’s a walking miracle,” the UK tot’s mom, Amanda, 39, told the Sun of the astonishing milestone. “She’s spent over eight months of her life in hospital, but she’s made it.”
The courageous toddler is currently slated to attend a school in the family’s hometown of Sheffield — an event Amanda and her husband Tom had almost written off entirely.
It’s been a harrowing journey for Hannah, who suffers from biliary atresia, a life-threatening infantile ailment where bile duct blockages cause bile to accumulate and damage the liver, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In an attempt to rebuild her failing ducts, Hannah reportedly endured her first major procedure at a mere three weeks old.
After that surgery tragically failed, Hannah’s desperate mother donated a piece of her own liver to save the then five-month-old’s life. She was thwarted yet again, however, when surgeons discovered a clot in the liver’s portal vein, which resulted in her undergoing yet another transplant.
Despite the operation, Hannah’s symptoms resurfaced later that year. The relapse devastated the family, who’d spent several agonizing weeks in the hospital waiting to hear the news.
“The next two years were absolute hell,” said Amanda, whose daughter subsequently underwent hundreds of unsuccessful procedures. The situation became so Sisyphean that the distraught mother was forced to hold a catheter for her daughter 24/7 so doctors could administer painkillers or antibiotics every time Hannah required another scan, biopsy or other procedure.
“Tom and I lost count of the number of times we thought we might go home without our precious little girl,” said Amanda about the gut-wrenching ordeal.
Thankfully, a breakthrough finally came in 2019, ten months after Hannah had been listed for a transplant for the third time. Amanda, who kept a hospital bag packed for most of the year just in case, got the call that a life-saving liver was available.
Several operations later, and Hannah was finally healthy enough to start school, according to Amanda.
“She literally couldn’t wait for this day to come,” said Amanda, adding that Hannah had been play-acting going to school throughout the quarantine. The infectiously “happy and smiley” tot also reportedly wanted to wear the uniform all the time from the moment her parents purchased it.
“I guess, like us, she’s just so happy to be here, about to start school and get on with normal life,” said Amanda.
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