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As a parent I would do anything just to take away my child's pain and to help make her feel better again. And now we've matching scars to prove it; DONOR DAD'S JOY AS DOCTORS USE HIS LIVER TO SAVE DAUGHTER.

Byline: Jenny Morrison

When Tony McArthur gave up drinking alcohol almost 20 years ago, he knew it would be good for his own health - but he never imagined it could save the life of his daughter too.

And the pair of them have the scars to prove it. Schoolgirl Vivica Rose, 13, fell seriously ill in May and her family were devastated to be broken the news that she had end-stage liver disease.

Doctors told her parents Tony, 38, and Kerry, 36, that their only child's best hope of survival was a liver transplant. They warned them she was so dangerously ill, she needed to be placed in a medically induced coma until a liver became available.

Without a moment's hesitation, dad Tony begged medics to use him as a living donor and take a piece of his liver to save Vivica.

Initial tests revealed Tony had a smaller liver than most men his size but medics were so impressed by the health of his liver that they allowed the operation to go ahead.

Just seven days later, Tony and Vivica were undergoing surgery at hospitals in Leeds.

Tony underwent a five-hour operation to have a section of his liver removed. Vivica then underwent a 16-hour op to have the donated liver transplanted into her body.

Now, just five months on, Tony and Vivica have recovered well from their surgery.

As they look forward to Christmas, Tony and Kerry say they can't thank enough the doctors and nurses who helped give their daughter the gift of life.

Tony, of Coatbridge, said: "When the doctors started spelling out exactly how ill Vivica was and even talked about putting her into a coma to keep her strong enough for a transplant, I knew we couldn't afford to wait for an organ donor's liver.

"Vivica is my daughter and, as a parent, you do anything you can to stop your child's pain and make them well again.

"It turned out my liver was smaller then normal, which certainly meant the surgery would be more complicated, but thankfully it was healthy enough for them to go ahead.

"I've never liked alcohol and haven't touched it since long before Vivica was born. I don't know how my liver might have compared to someone who might have a drink or two but I was told the section of my liver they removed was in great condition."

Kerry said: "We came close to losing Vivica so many times - it was terrifying. From the second we were told that one option could be a living donor, Tony just knew it was his liver she would receive. He has been teetotal since the age of 20."

Vivica was diagnosed with autoimmune liver disease aged just 12 after her stomach and legs started to swell while on a family holiday to Bangkok and Cambodia.

On returning to Scotland, nurse Kerry took her to their local hospital. She was transferred to Yorkhill children's hospital, where testsconfirmed the rare condition. Doctors liaised with specialists from the liver unit at Leeds General Hospital.

Over the next 10 weeks, her condition got worse until doctors in Leeds said she needed a transplant to save her life.

Kerry said: "I first became worried that something was wrong when Vivica was only nine but I took her to the doctor several times and each time I was told there was nothing untoward going on. I wish now that I had pushed for blood tests.

"The light seemed to have gone from her once bright eyes. She repeatedly complained of having a sore tummy and she was pale.

"The year before her diagnosis, her tummy and face looked swollen. I took her to the GP again and her symptoms were dismissed.

"I've since been told her condition is so rare - it affects just one in 10,000 children - that most GPs will never see a case of it.

"I think Vivica would still have needed a transplant if she had been diagnosed sooner but we would have had more time to come to terms with what was happening. Instead, we had just 10 weeks where every day we were told worse news."

When Tony volunteered to become his daughter's living donor, doctors carried out a battery of tests to ensure his liver would not be rejected by his daughter's body.

Tony, who works for a car leasing company, said: "On the night before the surgery, it was emotional saying goodbye to Vivica and leaving to go to another hospital for my operation but thankfully it all went well."

He was reunited with his daughter three days later. Kerry said: "We all just wept. Tony was in a wheelchair and Vivica was hooked up to so many machines and tubes but they both showed their scars to each other."

The couple are grateful to the Children's Liver Disease Foundation for supporting them since Vivica's surgery. The charity fund vital research into liver disease and provide information and support to families.

Kerry said: "Tony and Vivica still like showing off their matching scars. They have always been close but now the bond between then is even more special."

CAPTION(S):

CLOSE BOND Tony and Vivica compare scars

GRATEFUL Tony, Vivica and Kerry at home last week Pictures Mark Anderson
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 29, 2015
Words:880
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