In the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear, "to infinity and beyond!" This is the story of a little guy who is inquisitive and charismatic. His story is overwhelming and filled with lots of medical terminology, that shows just how challenged his start has been. However, through it all, little Carter has emerged from those "setbacks" much to his parents' joy and relief. "Carter is an energetic and charming little boy who loves going to school, riding his bike to the park and finding a new adventure every day," says Sean (Carter's Dad). It wasn't always clear that Carter's family would get to see him doing these things. When we asked Sean to share Carter's journey, this is what he shared with us ...

"In the summer of 2007, my wife, Chelle's normal pregnancy, was suddenly interrupted early in her 3rd trimester when she was diagnosed with a rare and serious condition called HELLP Syndrome. Carter's premature birth by C-section was a necessity to save both mother, Chelle, and baby, Carter. Born 2 lbs, 4 ounces, 10 weeks early, Carter was the size of a human hand - so tiny that a wedding band could fit at his elbow."

Carter's early months were spent in the hospital. He required ventilators to help him breath and round the clock specialized nursing care. In his first month of life, Carter acquired necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) - a serious bowel condition that required 3 life saving surgeries, numerous other medical interventions, and left him dependent on intravenous (IV) nutrition. After 7 ½ months in the neonatal ICU, Carter was not only unable to transition to oral feeds, he also was diagnosed with liver failure. Ultimately, his parents learned that Carter was in dire need of a liver transplant but was too fragile to be considered. They were devastated to hear "take him home" and "make him comfortable."

Undaunted, they researched the plight of "short gut/SBS" children and found an amazing surgeon who offered to help. They life-flighted Carter to the new hospital and began participating in an experimental drug trial. After a month Carter showed tremendous progress with weight gain, less jaundice, and with reaching developmental milestones - he finally smiled for the first time! His parents were hopeful the drug would be enough; however, a standard procedure went "frightfully wrong and immediately necessitated conversations with the transplant team. The initial discussions centered-around liver transplant only, but we soon learned that the team was looking at multiple organ transplantation."

"We listed Carter on a Saturday afternoon and less than 48 hours later we got the call for possible donor match. At the time, Carter was only 9 months old and weighed barely 9 lbs. By the grace of God, we happened to be in one of the few pediatric facilities to undertake the very rare transplant Carter would require - a multivisceral transplant. After a long 8 hour surgery, Carter emerged to the ICU having survived the procedure and for the first time with skin color no longer orange-tinged and eyes no longer yellow. He also had 5 new organs: a liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach and small intestine!"

Sean was happy to report that Carter is now 5 years old, talking, walking, eating and living as a normal little boy. "We are grateful to the 'risk-taking' doctors who have helped Carter, to the drug trials that he has been able to participate in, but most importantly, to the immensely generous gift a family bestowed upon my family by CHOOSING ORGAN DONATION. Their child, my son's donor, SAVED my son's LIFE!

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