Angie Lopez was concerned when her two-year-old son, Ezekiel didn’t want to eat and complained about stomach pain every day for a week. After being told she had nothing to worry about at a clinic, Angie took Ezekiel to the emergency room at Nemours Children’s Hospital because she knew something was wrong with her son. After running 70 different tests over a three-day period, Angie received the shocking and devastating diagnosis for her son: acute liver failure.
Ezekiel was then transferred to AdventHealth for Children with severe jaundice and an unexpected liver failure diagnosis. After a few days, his liver function began to improve, and he was discharged shortly before his third birthday. Angie was relieved. However, just one week after he was discharged his follow-up visit showed his numbers began to worsen. He was admitted into the hospital again and had a liver biopsy to determine the state of his liver. Angie and her husband, Alex, couldn’t believe it when they were told their son only had 40% liver function. Time seemed to stand still as the couple had to make quick decisions regarding their son’s health. Meanwhile, Angie decided to put work on hold to take care of her son.
“In that situation, when your child is sick, you would do anything to make them better. Your priorities change and no matter what you have to do, you just want your child to get better.”
Ezekiel received a health evaluation and was placed at the top of the transplant list. Doctors were telling Angie she had a few days to decide if a liver transplant was the right course of action for her three-year-old. The next day, doctors said they had a match. Everything was happening so fast; Angie and Alex began working with a transplant coordinator who made them feel comfortable and answered all their questions. The couple prayed about it, talked to their doctor and ultimately made the decision to go ahead with the transplant surgery.
Ezekiel became the third pediatric transplant patient at AdventHealth. Post-transplant Angie could see a huge difference in her son, he wasn’t yellow anymore! Ezekiel recently celebrated his one-year anniversary, post-transplant. He enjoys playing with race cars and is a happy, energetic little boy.
Angie and Alex are overwhelmed and grateful for the support they received during this emotional journey from friends, family and even strangers in the community.
For most parents like Angie and Alex, they are forced to choose between work and staying at their sick child’s bedside. When you are faced with that reality, covering household bills for things like rent, utilities and transportation can seem impossible.
Today, you can help families make ends meet while their child is receiving care at AdventHealth for Children. Every dollar you donate helps local families like Angie, Alex and Ezekiel with basic needs while their child is in the hospital.
Learn more about the AdventHealth for Children Day of Giving or donate today to make a difference this holiday season.