Laura Roe, 25, gave her one-year-old son Cameron the selfless gift in a rare ‘live’ donation. Only 21 such transplants were carried out in the UK last year.
During the 10-hour surgery the mother and son were in operating theatres that were a 10minute drive apart that were linked by video.
The surgery went well and both Laura and Cameron are on their way to making a full recovery.
Full-time mother Laura had noticed her newborn son had unusually yellow skin soon after birth and was told he had jaundice.
But after weeks of unusual symptoms such as white stools, and foul smelling urine, Laura insisted on more tests.
Eventually Cameron was diagnosed with a rare liver condition called Bilary Atresia at seven weeks old, which affects just one in 30,000 babies.
He had an operation to correct the problem at Leeds General Infirmary in May 2010.
But just a few months later Cameron’s tiny tummy started to bloat, and doctors discovered his abdomen was full of fluid, and his liver had began to fail.
After deteriorating health, Cameron was put on the transplant list at just eight months old, in December 2010.
His parents Laura and Giles, 35, from Manchester then faced the dreaded wait to see if they could find a donor.
Doctors suggested that they consider the option of live donation, where an adult gives part of their liver to a patient.
The relatively new procedure was first carried out in the UK in April 2006, and can be used as an alternative to waiting for a deceased donor match.
The procedure is sometimes considered as a last alternative, due to the risk it poses to donors, and out of the 689 liver transplants carried out in the last year, just 21 were live donations.
Mr Roe immediately volunteered to get tested but unfortunately both he and Laura’s dad Steve Abell, 48, were not a match.
In March 2011 mum Laura began test to see if she would be a suitable donor and she was found to be a match.
Laura said: ‘We knew that a live donation would give Cameron a good chance of finding a match quickly.
‘My husband and my Dad volunteered first, as we figured It would be best for me to be there for Cameron to look after him when he was recovering.
‘But after their tests came back as unsuitable I stepped up next to be tested. It was great relief to find I could donate to him, and save his life if a donor couldn’t be found.
‘But I was also really anxious about leaving him in hospital to go through his transplant without him by my side.’
After Laura was found to be a match, more tests followed to ensure that her health was good enough to become a live donor.
She said: ‘Being a compatible with Cameron was just the first hurdle, I had to have chest x-rays, scans and tests to make sure I was in good enough health to go ahead.
‘Not only that but I also had to be interviewed by a social worker, psychiatrist and the team of surgeons, to confirm I hadn’t been pressurised to do this, or even blackmailed.’
In the third week of March 2011, Laura was finally given the go ahead from Cameron’s transplant team.
A preliminary date for the surgery was set for the 29th April 2011, providing that a matching donor was not found before then.
In the meantime however, Cameron’s health had seriously deteriorated and it was becoming increasingly clear that time was running out.
Laura said: ‘Cameron was becoming very sick, and doctors were concerned that if we left it much longer, Cameron wouldn’t be strong enough to pull through such major surgery.’
So just two weeks after Laura was given the all-clear by doctors, Laura and Cameron headed for the operating theatre on April 6th, just days after Cameron’s first birthday.
Laura would have her operation in St James’s Hospital in Leeds, while Cameron would be waiting a 10 minute drive away at Leeds General Infirmary.
Surgeons used a video-link between the theatres to sync up the operations, as Laura had 25 percent of her liver removed.
Her liver was then transported by ambulance across Leeds to Cameron where it was being transplanted within the hour, as part of a 10 hour operation.
Laura spent the next two days in intensive care, and was later moved to a ward. After five days Laura was well enough to be discharged and visit Cameron.
Laura said: ‘It was heartbreaking as he was in so much pain, and he just couldn’t understand why his Mummy had left him.
‘He wouldn’t cuddle me as he was so upset, and just kept clinging onto his Dad.
‘I’m sure he’ll understand when he’s older, but I was crushed at the time.’
Despite that, the operation was a great success, but poor Cameron wasn’t allowed to eat anything for four days after the transplant.
Laura said: ‘As well as being in so much pain, the poor little man was starving hungry.
‘When he was finally allowed a bottle of milk on day five, he drained it in seconds.’
After 15 days he was finally allowed to go home.
At last the family can finally enjoy Cameron being a normal little boy.
After three months of being house bound while taking immunosuppressant drugs to allow his body to accept his new liver, Cameron can now socialise with children his own age.
Laura said: ‘We took him swimming for the first time this week, and it was so amazing to feel like a normal family.
‘I’m so glad that I pushed for Cameron to be referred for more tests when he was a baby.
‘If I hadn’t done so, he probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed in time for his initial surgery, and it is very probable he wouldn’t be here today.
‘You have to follow your instincts, and I’m lucky that I stuck to my guns.’
Laura is urging other people to join the donor list in a bid to help ill children like her son.
According to the NHS Blood and Transplant Directive there are currently 7,616 in the UK waiting for an organ transplant.
A staggering one in three of those people will die waiting for a transplant.
Laura said: ‘I was lucky enough to be able to save my son, but some people won’t be so fortunate.’