Menu

Top Stories

Published on Thursday, July 11, 2019

Two years have passed since the liver transplant surgery that saved Jude Ward’s life

Two years have passed since the liver transplant surgery that saved Jude Ward’s life

Almost two years have passed since Nicole and Josef Ward’s son, Jude, had a liver transplant due to Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1). You can read that story by clicking here.

Most people diagnosed with Alpha-1 don’t exhibit symptoms until they reach adulthood, when underproduction of the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein leads to complications in the lungs and eventual lung disease, according to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). However, Jude was producing an abnormal form of the protein, which started pooling in his liver, damaging it.

By 22 months of age, Jude was experiencing serious liver problems. In December 2016, he was rushed to an emergency room, where doctors said Jude would need a life-saving liver transplant to survive.

The family quickly got Jude onto the waiting list for a liver transplant at a hospital in their native Florida, did seemingly endless research on liver disorders in children, and eventually joined COTA.

The Wards, who now live on the joint base, ended up having better luck seeking a transplant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“On July 6, 2017, at 7 am, we got our first call that the hospital had a possible liver match for Jude,” Nicole Ward recalled. “We spent the entire day at the hospital doing pre-op tests on Jude and making him fast only to find out at 9:30 pm that upon retrieval of the liver it was determined not to be the best match for our Jude. We went back to our temporary transplant home broken more than ever but still clinging to a little hope that Jude’s call would come soon,” she added.

A couple of weeks later, Jude was back in the hospital for complications of his liver disease. By July 19, doctors had found a match for him, and the next day, he had a successful surgery.

“We were very relieved but could not quite let ourselves believe this was the one until he was wheeled into surgery about midnight that same night,” Ward said.

In the months leading up to the surgery, the Wards said Jude’s body was failing him. He could only take in food through a feeding tube, he needed infusions to get rid of excess fluid in his stomach, he was tired all the time but could not sleep comfortably, and he would get bruises and sores that didn’t heal.

Though Jude, now 4, had a successful transplant, it still impacts his life in small ways, as he must make frequent visits to the transplant center for lab work, checkups and adjustments to his immunosuppression medications, his family said.

While the family temporarily lived in Philadelphia at the Gift of Life Family House, COTA was able to raise more than $60,000 for COTA in honor of Jude and his medical expenses.

The family also fears they might go through a similar journey all over again. Their daughter Lucie, born last July, has the same deficiency. She is now in the process of receiving regular lab work to check her liver enzymes and regular ultrasounds.

“We do not know where things are headed with Lucie and a liver transplant, but her doctors are keeping a close eye on her,” Ward said.

“Life after transplant is a balance of enjoying life but also being mindful of keeping Jude healthy. The biggest blessing our family has received is the blessing of perspective,” she finished.

Sources: Burlington County Times, Children’s Organ Transplant Association

Photo courtesy of the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.


Print

Metamorphosis of an Alpha-1 Patient

Friday, March 16, 2012
Reflecting on my confirmed diagnosis of having inherited Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency ZZ and thinking about where I am today closely parallel the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Encouraged by my younger brother and his wife, a nurse I...
Divider

Walking sticks are “functional art” — and a contribution to research

Friday, March 16, 2012
Marvin Sineath and Dick Chappell have never met, or even spoken on the phone, but they’re teaming up to raise money for Alpha-1 research, and they’re doing it from two different states. Chappell started making walking sticks for...
Divider

One Transplant, Two Cures

Friday, March 16, 2012
Michael Locke could easily run up the steps of his summer cottage in the popular Canadian vacation area of Muskoka, Ontario. Why not? He was a lean, healthy man in his 50s, never smoked, and he’d run up those steps for years without a...
Divider

The Fire Inside

Friday, March 16, 2012
When Alpha and former firefighter Ed Brailey calls himself a “steak-and-eggs guy,” he’s not just talking about breakfast. He means that he still likes hanging out at the firehouse every now and then, sharing some eats, and...
Divider

A Family Affair

Friday, March 16, 2012
The Eymer family boys formed a bicycle motocross (BMX) racing team a few years ago in Wadsworth, Ill – now, to spread the word about Alpha-1, they’re letting their wheels do the talking. Jayson Eymer is a teenager in love. Although...
Divider

Gary and his EFFORTS

Friday, March 16, 2012
When Gary Bain was first diagnosed with emphysema in 1986, his doctor told him he had about six years to live. Bain couldn’t believe his ears. “Why does a doctor first tell you how long you have to live? I didn’t like that...
Divider

In memory of Gavin

Friday, March 16, 2012
Alpha-1 liver disease cost Gavin his life, and now, his mother is doing whatever it takes to raise awareness so that she may one day save another child's life. In just 11 months of life, Gavin was hospitalized seven times. He went through three...
Divider

A Golf Ball in the Woods

Friday, March 16, 2012
Gordon Cadwgan as diagnosed in 1992, when the first national meeting of the new Alpha-1 Association took place - he and his wife, Ruth, traveled from their home in Wilmington, Delaware, to the conference in Minnesota. Gordon had been running...
Divider

A Long Decade’s Journey

Friday, March 16, 2012
Some of life’s most auspicious journeys begin with a single, faltering step, and Gordon Snider, MD, began such a journey in a New York City taxicab on a rainy night in 1995. The eminent pulmonologist and researcher shared a cab to...
Divider

Black Alpha family wonders “if there are blacks that are not diagnosed because they are black — or even people of other races”

Friday, March 16, 2012
Mary Rogers, with skin the color of rich dark chocolate, was recovering from the operation when the surgeon came in, checked and found out she had Alpha-1. “He said ‘Alpha-1 is normally associated with Europeans,’”...
Divider

Two for the Road

Friday, March 16, 2012
Hap and Diane Eaton enjoy each other’s company – a necessity, when you spend a full year in the daily close proximity of a two-seater bicycle – but it also helps that the Eaton’s see themselves as a team, sharing in the...
Divider

Isabel and the honeysuckle jungle

Friday, March 16, 2012
Isabel Baynes works every day with her husband Robert (Bud) in their family business, growing ornamental willow trees for sale to florists. It’s a business with some physical demands. It requires regularly cutting branches from the...
Divider
First61626364656667686970

Article Search

Enter keywords in text box and click Search button for results.

Archive