Donated LIVER GAVE toddler A NEW LIFE

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

All Gapi and Ratha Molelekeng wanted was a healthy baby.

Gapi, the baby's mother, said: "For the first few weeks of her life everything seemed normal except that she was not gaining weight, her stools were white and urine was dark.

"Botsala's paediatrician at Akasia Clinic said she had jaundice and insisted that she stays overnight for more tests," she said.

Tests confirmed that the baby had Biliary Atresia.

"Her bile ducts were blocked and she was born without a gall bladder," Gapi said.

Botsala was operated on and the family was told that she needed a new liver. Her condition deteriorated. She vomited blood.

"Botsala was always itchy. She would scratch her body until she bled. That used to tear me apart," Gapi said.

Pain and hospital visits became part of the family's routine for two years.

"A memory that still makes me shudder is when we were advised to have her front teeth extracted because they would pose infection threats when she got a donor.

"After her teeth were extracted we went to the recuperating room. We met a surgeon who looked ashen and shaken. She told us that Botsala had stopped breathing for a while. I swore that the next time I would allow my child in a theatre was when she got a donor.

"Our prayers were answered on June 18 last year. I did not have the strength to go to work so I stayed at home praying and fasting. My cellphone was off. Later I switched my phone on and listened to my messages. I heard Kim Crymble saying something I could not make out. All I heard was 'Donor.'."

The operation lasted six hours and it was successful.

"She was in ICU for three weeks and in the ward for a week. There were no complications.

"My baby turns four next year. She is a bundle of energy and joy. Sometimes I think she is making up for all the time she was sick. Her temper needs help. She loves music, sings along and dances with Barney. We are enjoying our little girl.

"We do not know the family who helped save Botsala, but we are very grateful to them. Through Botsala they are part of us and will always be part of our family," Gapi said.