The mother of a little girl who underwent a liver transplant is hoping that her story will raise the profile of liver disease among children.
Poppy Chappell, 4, from Cheshunt, was giving a lifesaving liver transplant when she was just three years old.
The toddler had to undergo the nine-hour operation after it was discovered that she was suffering from Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic condition that causes damage to the liver.
Mum Laura Chappell, 30, told the Hertfordshire Mercury that she and her husband, Danny, had found that they were both carriers the Alpha-1 gene, which is present in one in 90 people.
“If you both have the gene there is a one in four chance of giving it to your children,” she said.
However, Poppy’s condition was not identified for some time, and it wasn’t until April 2014 that she was put on a waiting list for a replacement liver.
Her life was saved when a donor, a young adult, was found and surgery was carried out in July last year.
Mrs Chappell told the Mercury that the family had written a letter of thanks to the anonymous donor’s family.
She said: “We just said, ‘We are so grateful and we will make sure that as she grows older that every milestone achievement that Poppy makes, it’s down to their lovely decision’.”
Poppy attends nursery at St Augustine’s in Hoddesdon, which Mrs Chappell praised.
“When Poppy had a report at the end of term, the teacher said she is on target for every single level,” she said.
“For her to go through so much and still be on target makes us so proud.”
Mrs Chappell also shared her praise for Poppy’s big brother Freddie, 7.
She said: “He is so good and never gets jealous at all.
“The day of Poppy’s transplant, my dad took him to the Emirates Stadium to distract him.”
As Poppy prepares to celebrate the one-year anniversary of her transplant, Mrs Chappell hopes that her story will raise awareness of liver disease.
“People always think about cancer and everything but you would never believe that you would have a child who would get liver disease,” she said, adding that the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation had been a massive support.