A Grande Prairie mother is praying for a Christmas "miracle" to save the life of her eight-month-old daughter, who suffers from a rare liver disease.

Nikita Campbell was diagnosed earlier this year with biliary atresia, a birth defect that affects the liver.

The Canadian Liver Foundation say biliary atresia affects one in every 10,000 to 20,000 infants. 

Nikita's mother, Miranda Riddell, was first told it was jaundice, a temporary yellowing of the skin in newborns. But Nikita did not get better.

"She's getting more sicker," Riddell told CBC News, holding Nikita at her bedside at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. 

Nikita Campbell & Miranda Riddell

Miranda Riddell enjoys a smile from her eight-month-old daughter Nikita Campbell, who suffers from a rare liver disease called biliary atresia. Nikita needs a transplant to save her life. (CBC)

Nikita was most recently admitted Aug. 22, following a Kasai procedure, which involves attaching part of the liver to the small intestine to allow bile to drain. However, the surgery did not work and a full liver transplant is now needed.

"It's been really really hard. We've had a lot of cries."

Smile sustains mom

Riddell said the weeks since the diagnosis have been especially difficult as she has had to leave her two-year-old son to stay by Nikita's bedside. Her daughter's occasional smiles keep her spirits up.

"It just makes my heart melt. … She's kind of looked at me and been like, 'Mom, suck it up. It's not that hard. If I can pull through it, you can pull through it.' "

Riddell said her daughter has been listed for a donation since Sept. 5, and that liver donations usually take about three months to secure. She said doctors believe if Nikita does not get a donation by mid-February, there is a 75 percent chance she will die.

"It's scary, it's emotional. You just really try not to think about it," Riddell said.

"Hopefully, her journey won't be ending for her."

Since word of the family's situation got out, donations have been steady to a website set up to help them with expenses following the hoped operation. As of Sunday night, they had raised half of their $4,000 target.