Mum pays it forward for Frankie

Joanne Inzalaco with her son Frankie (2) who has a rare liver condition.
Joanne Inzalaco with her son Frankie (2) who has a rare liver condition.

Mrs Inzalaco’s two-year-old son Frankie has a rare liver disease and although he is not on the transplant list yet, and Mrs Inzalaco hopes he never will be, she wants to promote awareness of the ‘gift of life.’

‘On leaving hospital (after Frankie was born) I was told he was a little jaundiced so make sure I keep him in the light and it will go but it never did,’ she said.

She said just over a month later she took Frankie to the hospital. ‘We were seen by a doctor who felt Frankie’s liver and said it was enlarged and that he could have a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia, which affects one in 10,000 children,’ she said.

‘This disease causes inflammation within the bile ducts around the time of birth that leads to scarring of the liver.

‘Within a week he had a life-saving bypass operation called a Kasai at Princess Margaret Hospital, where he stayed for two weeks.’

Mrs Inzalaco said Frankie had responded well to the Kasai treatment.

Biliary Atresia remains the main reason for liver transplants in children.

‘We just hope that he will never need one, while at the same time hope to promote awareness of organ donation and how important it is,’ she said. ‘Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.’

Mrs Inzalaco is holding a coffee morning for her family, friends and parents of Brighton Catholic Primary School on March 1 with all donations raised going to DonateLife and The Liver Foundation of WA to help fund a paediatric liver transplant unit in Perth.

DonateLife Week 2013 runs from February 24 to March 3.