Winnipeg boy's double-organ transplant offers 'hope for survival'

A Winnipeg couple survived an emotional roller coaster this summer, after waiting months for a rare double-organ transplant for their infant son.

The parents of a Winnipeg toddler who underwent surgery for a new liver and bowels say they survived an emotional roller-coaster this summer after waiting months forthe rare double-organ transplant.

Twenty-month-old Sebastien Forest underwent the surgery in Toronto three weeks ago.

"Without the bowel and the liver, he wouldn't be able to survive, like, he was near the end of his lifespan," said the boy's father, David Forest, on Thursday.

Speaking from Toronto, Forest said he and his wife Jasmina havealready noticed a change in Sebastien.

"He's a lot less jaundiced because he's got a new liver," he observed. "I mean, he's quite active. He wants to get his lines off and stuff. He thinks he's ready to go home."

Boy has 'sparkle in his eye'

Sebastien had gastroschisis and short bowel syndrome. Gastroschisis is a congenital defect in which the abdominal wall is herniated and the intestines are exposed. In what Forest said was a difficult year of waiting, the family was firstcalled to Toronto in January, when organs became available.

The organs did not make a good match, and the family returned home to wait. Then, they received a call earlier this summer with news of another set of available organs.

"For us, we were very excited about it," Forest said. "It was even better than winning the lottery."

The family has had to hold several fundraisers to cover their costs. Now they hope to bring Sebastien home in a few months.

"I find he's got this sparkle in his eye, and I think it's sort of hope for survival," Forest said.

"I think he's sort of thanking us or thanking the donor for having him have this chance to receive the organs, and I think he's happy to have received it."

Forest said their experience should serve as a reminder for all people to consider filling out organ donation cards.