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Thanks to His Donor, Keegan Received A Second Chance

Keegan was born with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia, typically diagnosed a few weeks after birth. The only thing that would save his life: an organ transplant.

With biliary atresia, not enough bile reaches the intestine to help digest fats – a necessary part of digestion. Children with liver disease appear jaundiced, with yellow eyes and skin tone. Their appetite and energy levels are often diminished, sometimes even too sick to eat solid foods with their swollen belly.

According to mom, Heather, when Keegan was 2 ½ years old, he got very sick. Because another family said yes to donation, Keegan was able to receive the transplant that he so desperately needed.

Keegan before receiving the transplant that saved his life

After Keegan’s family received the call, he ended up spending seventeen days in the hospital post-transplant. When they finally went home, Keegan was a completely different little boy, full of energy. His eyes were white – instead of yellow – and he slowly got his appetite back again. Three months later, it was impossible to tell that Keegan received a transplant and was ever ill.

Keegan enjoying Disney, post-transplant

Since receiving his transplant, Keegan has met his generous donor, Andrea’s family. They feel a special connection with them, like a second family. In conversations, Heather has continued to learn more about LifeSource and how many people are involved in making a transplantation happen.

“Live life, then give life. We all have an opportunity to try and let someone else live longer when our time does come.”

Heather Johnson, Keegan’s mother

When sharing her son’s story, Heather hears misconceptions about age and the inability to become a donor. Her message to others: Do not rule yourself. You don’t have to be a certain age, free of a certain illness, etc. Anyone can register to be a donor.