Mom Kimberly Parello was desperately trying to find a donor for her 14-year-old son, Anthony (pictured above), who needed a liver transplant.
Anthony was born with biliary atresia, a life-threatening condition in which bile gets trapped in the ducts, builds up, and damages the liver. Four years ago doctors found a large tumor on his liver. Anthony was put on a list to receive a liver transplant, but no donors came through, and his parents, other family members, and friends weren’t a match.
So Anthony’s mom decided to launch a quest for a donor on Facebook. Parello posted on her Facebook page in August that her son’s liver was starting to fail and that she was looking for anyone willing to help so that he could get the lifesaving transplant.
The Chicago-area mom got a response from an unexpected source: a casual friend, Kendra Perpich, whom Parello hadn’t seen since 1991.
Perpich saw Parello’s post and reached out to her on Facebook. To make sure that she was a good candidate for the organ donation, Perpich had to go through weeks of testing at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Then the good news came: She was a match.
Kendra Perpich, left, with Kimberly and Anthony Parello. (Photo: Kimberly Parello/Facebook)
Last week Anthony received a transplanted liver from Perpich. Surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital removed nearly half of her liver. Couriers then rushed the organ across the street to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where surgeons placed Perpich’s liver into Anthony’s body, saving his life. Because the liver is an organ that regenerates on its own, Perpich’s liver will become whole in about three weeks.
“People ask, ‘Why would you?’” Perpich told CBS Chicago News. “My question is, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’”
Anthony is grateful for what is no doubt the best Christmas present he will ever receive. “It was a blessing that Kendra was able to be a match and around Christmas,” Anthony told CBS Chicago News. “So then I can actually live a normal life like everyone else.