ICU Nurse Donates Part of Her Liver to 8-Year-Old Wisconsin Boy: 'She Saved His Life,' Says Dad
Brayden Auten was put on the transplant list after doctors found an aggressive virus attacking his liver.
An 8-year-old boy has a new lease on life after a Milwaukee nurse stepped in to donate part of her liver in a life-saving transplant.
Brayden Auten returned to his family’s Wisconsin home in July after recovering from a partial liver transplant thanks to a “selfless” ICU nurse, Cami Loritz, WBAY reported. Now, Brayden is set to head back to school—months after his family wondered whether he’d live or die.
“What she did was completely selfless and she saved his life, plain and simple,” James Auten, Brayden’s father, told WBAY of Loritz. Brayden’s mom, Ruth Auten, added, “We can’t thank her enough. She’s a true miracle. We consider her one of us, one of our family.”
It all began in April when Brayden returned from school sick, according to WBAY. His family took him to the hospital where doctors found an aggressive virus attacking his liver. His health began to decline rapidly, the family said.
“It was the Sunday after we got there, they finally looked at us, they’re like, ‘We’re bypassing everything. He’s going on the list tonight,'” James said. Ruth added, “Started talking liver transplant, and we just bawled our eyes out. We didn’t think it was going to get that far.”
The Autens shared updates on Brayden’s health on Facebook. James revealed in a May 6 status that Brayden’s health had gone downhill.
“Well this is the last post I wanted to make but Braydens liver is failing,” he wrote alongside a Facebook photo of Brayden in a hospital bed. “We need your prayers and miracle for healing and to find him a liver soon. I appreciate everyone’s love and support through this.”
Weeks later, James had a more positive update to share. The parents shared Brayden’s story online in hopes of finding a donor for the boy, but no one was a match, WBAY reported. That’s when Loritz got involved. Loritz, an ICU nurse in Milwaukee, stepped in to help and learned she was the perfect match.
“So today we had the wonderful opportunity to meet Braydens miracle, the angel that gave you life,” James wrote in a Facebook post on May 21.
“She has given up time and went through pain to make sure that my son has a chance to walk by my side again and be able to live and thrive like a regular 7yr old boy,” James added. “So thank you Cami Loritz I will never be able to repay the gift that you have given my son and all of us!”
After weeks of recovery, Brayden is now home and he and Loritz even showed off their surgery scars in a photo shoot. The photos showed Loritz and Brayden wearing matching shirts and cuddling close with wide smiles.
“This post comes from such a FULL heart. I cannot say thank you enough for all the kind words, genuine thoughts and intentional prayers Brayden and I have received over the last few months,” Loritz wrote in a Facebook post of her own. “Know that they have been whole heartedly appreciated and were our go to ‘pick me ups’ during the rough days of recovery.”
A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to cover Brayden’s medical expenses.
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This article originally appeared on People.com.