Fantasia Wells undergoes successful liver transplant surgery

She was 6 months old when the family was told a liver transplant was in dire need in order for her survival. Fantasia finally had the procedure done on Oct. 22 and, knock on wood she four now and doing great! According to her grandmother, Sally Baker, of Plattsburgh, the transplant took place at the Presbyterian Childrens Hospital in New York City, and without much time to spare. They (the doctors) told us Fantasia would not have lasted much longer without the transplant, Baker said. The surgery began at 10:30 a.m. and by 3:30 that afternoon it was complete. Although the identity of the donor was not shared with the family, they do know the liver came from a child who was the same size as Fantasia. We are writing a letter to the family to thank them, Baker said. Of course it must go to a social worker first, but they are hoping the donor family will agree to a meeting so they can be thanked in person for the miracle they have provided. We also want people in our community to know that Fantasia finally got the transplant, Baker said. You always see articles in the papers about fundraisers, but we never see what happens. Donations came to us from all over, including money from people in Lake Placid, Baker said. They were also thankful for fundraising benefits that had been organized by Dave and Jean Hart, of Keeseville, other members of the community and family friends. That generosity helped the family with travel expenses related to numerous trips to the NYC hospital as Fantasias condition continued to deteriorate prior to the transplant and as well as the familys stay during the procedure and the 18-day recovery period. She and her family still have to travel to the hospital, but only once every two weeks for blood work and so that doctors can monitor her progress. Due to her condition Fantasia did not develop at the same rate as other children, but she is now gaining weight at a nice rate. Aside from being on a lactose-free diet, the doctors says Fantasia should be treated like a normal four-year-old, said Baker. Fantasia was able to return to Pyramid Preschool and her routine of physical, occupational and speech therapy on Jan. 8. She graduates this year and will be going to kindergarten next fall, said her mother, Aime Clukey. Clukey said they are currently working with the Make-A-Wish foundation on getting Fantasia to meet Dora the Explorer. Shes probably her number one fan. Baker and Clukey are both amazed by Fantasias spirit and strength. She never complained of any pain, Baker said as she illustrated the size of the incisions made during the transplant. Now when she goes to the doctor, Fantasia proudly lifts up her shirt and says, looking good!

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