Kaden Hollis was born on March 7, 2005 to Cindie and Bobby Hollis. He was a cuddly baby with big brown eyes and a full head of hair. Just a couple months after Kaden was born, his parents noticed that Kaden’s eyes looked a little yellow. Their pediatrician advised them to look out for other symptoms between then and his next check-up. Two weeks later Kaden had his four month check-up and his doctor instantly knew that something was wrong. Kaden was immediately sent to the hospital for blood tests and an ultrasound of his stomach, liver, and kidneys. After numerous medical tests, he was diagnosed with Progressive Familial Intrehepatic Cholestasis, a very rare disorder that causes progressive liver disease and usually leads to liver failure. They were told that Kaden would need a new liver and that, unfortunately, he was too small and too weak to be placed on the transplant waiting list.
At 13 months, Kaden was feeling the significant side effects of the disease. Unable to gain weight, he was weak and needed the support of a feeding tube. In addition, the disease made him extremely itchy. He spent his days and nights in fits of scratching and yanking out his feeding tube. He was constantly uncomfortable.
“He wasn’t strong enough to walk; he wasn’t learning speech; he couldn’t eat by himself.” said Cindie. “They just knew his quality of life was so poor they were going to have to transplant him.”
After months of sleepless nights and hospital visits Kaden was finally strong enough to be placed on the national transplant list in November of 2006. One month later, the Hollis’ received the phone call that would save their baby’s life.
“I was excited because he was so sick and this was his chance. This was his chance at not being sick; this was his chance to learn how to walk, to learn how to be a normal kid. This was his chance at life.”
The surgery was a total success. On December 14, 2006 Kaden woke up with a new liver. Just one day after surgery, he was sitting up on his own and enjoying pizza and chocolate pudding.
Today Kaden is a healthy, energetic and chatty little boy. He has learned to walk, run, jump and climb and takes full advantage of his new strength and energy. Cindie and Bobby are overjoyed by their “little man” and amazed at how much he has improved since his transplant.
Cindie and Bobby think of Kaden’s donor as his “guardian angel.” They are extremely grateful for the generosity that saved their son’s life and “will never forget the life lost and the gift that was given to Kaden.”
“It definitely gave us both a different meaning for life, and what matters. Your family, laughing, just loving each other and making the best of every day. It really changes your aspect of life.”