A UK couple have appealed on Facebook for liver and intestine for their one-year-old boy.
Ethan Collins, from Bury, Greater Manchester, was born a month premature with a condition meaning most of his intestine lay outside his body. During surgery shortly after his birth, doctors were only able to save a tiny portion of his bowel.
AdvertisementHe now needs a new liver and intestine and has been given only a few weeks to live.
In an attempt to find potential donors, Ethan's family have created an appeal on Facebook, the social networking site. Almost 19,000 people have since signed up to the group.
His father Stuart Collins, 30, said he had spent his first birthday and Christmas with friends and family in Manchester and is now managing to take solid food once a day.
Mr Collins said: "He has had a really fantastic birthday and Christmas - all the family have been to visit him and we've all been spoiling him.
"He has had a tough couple of weeks but he keeps on fighting and has recovered from his infection - he just keeps smiling through everything.
"We have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted us and left us messages. We have been really touched by everyone's support."
Stuart, 30, a radar expert who left the army in June after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, said: "Ethan is such a happy little boy. He has a fantastic nature and doesn't mind being in hospital, because he doesn't know anything else."
Stuart and Donna, 32, who also have two daughters from previous relationships, are hoping people will sign up to the donor register and help save the lives of children like him.
Donna, from Whitefield, said: "We have been told Ethan only has weeks to live without a transplant, so we are having to think the worst.
"We know how difficult it is when your child is very sick, but we want to ask other parents to consider donating their child's organs."
Stuart added: "We just want him to have another chance."
Donna was told there were problems when she was pregnant, but she decided not to tell her partner Stuart while he was serving in Afghanistan.
He was devastated by the news when he returned before the birth, but doctors thought an operation would solve the problem.
Consultant paediatric gastroenterologist Adrian Thomas said: "Ethan required major surgery on the first day of life.
"He has required intravenous feeding to help maintain his growth, but has developed severe liver disease - combined intestinal and liver transplantation can be a life-saving procedure if it is performed in time."
But even if Ethan has the transplant, he will still need a lot more treatment and would have to take drugs for the rest of his life.
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