Liver transplant saves life of two children

Mallory D. Biering, Staff Reporter

Ten years ago, on March 20, a ten-year-old boy by the name of Casey Rivers underwent a liver transplant in Delaware. Rivers, a Bamberg County native, was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, which is a type of liver cancer that effects children at a very young age.

Ten years ago, Rivers' mother, Brenda Daniels, who works at the Bamberg Magistrate's Office, noticed her son wasn't himself. He stopped eating and began to feel very tired. At first she thought his change in behavior was due to his after school activities, but soon the family found out there was a tumor, the size of a grapefruit, on his liver.

Over the next year of chemotherapy, the doctors in South Carolina told the family to let the cancer run its course, but Daniels had other plans for her son. Through prayers and faith they were led to someone who had a child with the same type of cancer. It was then, Rivers and Daniels went to Delaware to find help after doctors in South Carolina gave up hope.

The liver performs functions that keep the body going like aiding in digestion, absorbing fat and vitamins, cleaning the body of toxins and producing proteins, therefore it was vital to have the problem fixed as quickly as possible.

Rivers had a transplant known as a split technique operation, the only way to rid him of the cancer, at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Rockland by Doctor Stephen Dunn, the director of duPont Hospital's Division of Solid Organ Transplant.

Rivers, along with another child, received parts of the liver and both survived the operation. The liver which was split in three pieces and given to both children eventually grew, "to do the job of a full liver."

After the transplant, Rivers was able to go home, but still had to undergo chemotherapy for some time. However he was soon back to himself. Daniels shared, "I am overjoyed and I thank God every day for answering my prayers and for saving my son's life. If it wasn't for the community we wouldn't have made it. Everyone was great."

Rivers currently takes an anti-rejection medication known as Rapamune, which he will need to take for the rest of his life. Until Rivers is 21, the medicine will be provided at no cost, however in November that will change and he will be responsible for making the full $1,300 monthly payment for his medicine.

The prayers and hope of a mother, and God's grace is why Rivers is still with us today. Rivers, being one of the first of two people to "receive a split liver transplant," currently works at a grocery store in Allendale and is the father of a two-year-old son, Sean. Rivers is a graduate of the 2011 class of Allendale Fairfax High School.