RJ is nine months old. He loves being around his family - mom Stephanie, dad Rob, brother Stevie (age 6), and sisters Lakaiya (age 7), Jaidyn (age 6) and Arionna (age 2). RJ has biliary atresia, a rare, chronic disease of the liver that is the leading cause of liver transplantation in children. RJ needs a liver transplant now
RJ's common bile duct, located between the liver and the small intestine, and the very small internal bile ducts did not function. Bile is a liquid released by the liver. It contains cholesterol, bile salts, and waste products such as bilirubin. Bile salts help your body break down fats. Bile passes out of the liver through the bile ducts. When the bile ducts become damaged or blocked, bile builds up in the liver causing scarring (cirrhosis), and jaundice (yellowing of the skin). Without proper bile flow, nutrients essential for living are unable to be broken down and distributed throughout the body.
RJ underwent a major surgical procedure (Kasai) to help restore bile flow in July of 2012, he was eight weeks old. The procedure has not been totally successful and his liver continues to deteriorate.
Liver transplantation – from a deceased or living donor - is the only hope for RJ's irreversible liver damage.
RJ is waiting for a liver on the national organ donor registry, which will be transplanted by his doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.