Isla, one year later

July 12, 2017
A year after her liver transplant, Isla is happy and healthy
Isla, one year ago and today

On June 30, the Marshall family from Kentville, N.S. celebrated a very special anniversary: one year since baby Isla got a life-saving liver transplant from her mom.

To see Isla today, you would never guess how sick she’d been such a short time ago. Born in November 2015 with a rare liver disease, Isla’s body was unable to digest fats. Though doctors said she would need a liver transplant someday, the disease progressed more quickly than expected.

“She became really sick, to the point that her bones were breaking from malnourishment,” says Isla’s dad, Evan. “We went to Toronto in May 2016 to have her assessed by a transplant team and to see if my wife or I could be a living donor. Luckily, my wife was a match to do this heroic gesture.”

Isla and her mom showing their surgery scars

While in Toronto, the Marshalls stayed at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto for two weeks, followed by another month and a half stay from June to August.

“We were blown away,” says Evan. “We did not expect a four-storey apartment complex that was super well-kept, with kind staff and meals provided. It was wonderful.”

The transplant took place on June 30. Having both his wife and baby undergoing surgery was very stressful for Evan, so he was grateful to find support at the House.

“It was good to be around people who were in the same boat,” he says. “Surprisingly, everyone seemed to be in good spirits, so being there was therapeutic.”

Isla and her mom, Kate, in front of the Toronto skyline

Since returning to Kentville last August, Isla has recovered wonderfully. She hasn’t had any signs of organ rejection and is a happy, energetic little girl.

“Now she’s doing all the normal things, like eating up a storm and walking on her own. All these things that a lot of people take for granted. This is her second chance at life.”

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Alicia Zabolotney
This is amazing! We were there at the exact same time as you guys (our transplant was June 15th) and I was the living donor also for my son who had biliary atresia, also born November 2015. It's too bad we didn't meet at the house! :) great to hear things are going well! It's amazing how quickly they bounce back!
13/07/2017 9:23:41 PM

Beautiful story! My daughter Alice was too born with a rare liver disease (biliary atresia) and she will require a liver transplant at SickKids before she turns 18. My husband is a donor match (unfortunately I am not), and it is very encouraging to hear a story like this with a positive outcome. Isla I'd such a fighter! All the best!
13/07/2017 5:32:02 PM

Evan Marshall
That's ma gurl!
13/07/2017 4:24:16 PM

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