About Aria - Aria MacDonald

About Aria

Aria McDonald

Aria MacDonald

Aria is an amazing four year old little girl from Manurewa, Auckland, New Zealand.  Aria received her gift of life on the 6th of February 2010, a small bowel, kidney, liver and pancreas transplant at the Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha, USA.  Sadly the new intestine has rejected and Aria was relisted on the organ transplant list on the 27th of April 2010.  Aria received her 2nd gift of life on Mothers Day 9th May 2010.

Aria’s story begins after birth when she was diagnosed with a very rare condition of the bowel known as total intestinal aganglionosis or total Hirschsprung’s disease. There is no cure and it means she will never be able to digest food.

Total intestinal aganglionosis is where there are no nerves cell throughout the entire bowel to squeeze the food along to be digested. Hirschsprungs is common where a portion of the bowel contains no nerves and can be fixed by removing the effected portion of bowel and reconnecting the healthy remaining bowel. Aria’s form of the disease means this is not an option because there is no healthy bowel.

This news was devastating to her parents Hamish and Anita who were told that nothing could be done to save their baby. It looked like the end of the journey for Aria but really it was the start of something amazing. Dear friends visited the next day and brought hope. That hope was the possibility of a bowel transplant and also the idea of Aria going home on TPN (total parental nutrition).

Aria has now lives at home with Mum and Dad and receives her ‘food’ thru her Hickman line in her shoulder directly into her blood stream. She also has a gastrostomy that drains her stomach of the bile that has no where to go.

Life is not straight forward however. Aria faces the threat of line infections as bugs can easily get into Aria’s blood stream thru her Hickman line. Connecting her to TPN each night must be done under sterile conditions to avoid this. TPN is also very hard on the liver. For babies that live only on TPN the risk of liver failure is high leading to death.  Up until December 2008 Aria had perfect liver numbers but now her liver is struggling.

There is also a problem with Aria’s kidneys.  Her condition is because of a genetic flaw in her DNA which has also caused her kidneys to be unusually small.  This causes abnormal kidney function as her small kidneys are struggling to keep up with her growth.  Because of this she will also need a kidney transplant.

Bowel Transplant

Aria’s only hope of long term survival and a chance to eat rests in small bowel, liver, pancreas and kidney transplant.  These organs have come from a single child donor whose family made a brave and difficult decision to donate life at a desperately terrible time.  This operation is not done in NZ or Australia but the best place is America with the cost of $1-$2 million US dollars. It is still a risky operation but the odds of survival are getting better as advances in medical knowledge continue.

Her family and friends are busy fundraising  for the cost of living in America with no income for 1-2 years.  The NZ Government/tax payer is covering the cost of Aria’s medical care and accommodation.  Please consider some of the many ways in which you can help out or support Aria and her family.

Aria is a bright smiley little girl who handles the trials in her life amazingly well. Her life is a precious gift from God who is taking the MacDonald family on a journey according to His great purposes.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11