Aunt offers liver for Odessa, Sask., niece with rare disorder

A family from Odessa, Sask. hopes a liver transplant and a big committment from an aunt will save the life of a 10-month-old-girl.

Community raises at least $25,000 for family's expenses

Zoey Haas was born with a rare liver disorder and her family hopes a transplant from her aunt will save her life. (CBC)

A family from Odessa, Sask. is hoping a liver transplant and a big commitment from an aunt will save the life of a 10 month old girl.

When Carmen Welch arrived home with her daughter Zoey, she didn't think much of the yellow hue to her infant's skin. 

"I've never really taken jaundice that seriously," said Welch. "My other two had jaundice for a couple days, and I was like, 'oh, it's jaundice.'"

But Zoey's condition didn't improve and she was diagnosed with biliary atresia. It stops bile from leaving the liver, causing a buildup that leads to tissue damage and eventually liver failure. 

Welch says a transplant is now Zoey's only treatment option. 

Zoey's biggest hope for recovery is inside of her aunt, Amanda Haas. 

Though final tests are still ongoing, there's a 90 per cent chance Haas will be a match for live organ donation. 

Doctors in Edmonton plan to remove roughly 20 per cent of Haas's liver and transplant into Zoey where she would continue to grow it as her own. 

"It wasn't really a decision I guess. It was just sort of 'I could, so I would,'" said Haas. "It was just sort of whoever would be the best match. Whatever was best for Zoey."

A community chips in

Following the procedure, Welch says Zoey will spend three months in Edmonton to ensure the transplant has worked.

Recognizing the expenses that will no doubt pile up during this time, a group of people in the community decided to help out.

A large dinner and auction was held at the town hall on January 31st, with proceeds going to the family. 
Hundreds of people in Odessa turned out for a fundraiser dinner on January 31st, with proceeds going to the family of Zoey Haas. (Submitted)

"I just think that if something were ever to happen to my son I would probably appreciate the same thing being done," said Belinda Kopp, one of the organizers of the event.

As of Monday, the group had raised roughly $25,000 for travel and living expenses.  

Welch says the timing of Zoey's surgery depends on how much weight the child can put on, but it could happen as early as the end of March. 

Helping baby Zoey

​Anyone who wants to help Zoey and her family financially is asked to make cheques out to "Village of Odessa", and write "Zoey Haas" in the memo space. Mail can be sent to the following address:

Village of Odessa
Box 91
S0G 3S0


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