Veteran donates portion of liver to Colorado baby with rare disorder

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AURORA, Colo. — During the season of giving, Drea Richardson felt a calling to help the helpless. Her baby cousin, Destiny, has a rare genetic metabolic disorder called methylmalonic acidemia.

“She was diagnosed at four days old,” Richardson said. “Before she was a year, she faced death three times.”

Because of her condition, Destiny’s body can’t break down essential nutrients. She needed a new liver at an extremely early age.

“They didn’t want to put her on the transplant list until she was over a year old because her chances of survival were so slim,” Richardson said.

Richardson saw members of her family post about the need for a transplant on Facebook. The Army veteran figured she would fill out the paperwork and throw her hat in the ring.

“I have a liver, it regenerates, and if I can offer the opportunity for someone else to live happy healthy toddlerhood, then I’m more than happy to offer that,” Richardson said.

She successfully had surgery to remove 1/5 of her liver at UCHealth, sending it over to Children’s Hospital Colorado for little Destiny.

“She’s at home now,” Richardson said. “They’re taking it just one step at a time and rolling with the punches and completely happy.”

Now Richardson hopes her gift will inspire others to consider donating.

If you’d like to learn more about being a living donor, UCHealth has information on its website.

“Why would you not do that if you can? You can recover, and if you can donate, then donate,” Richardson said.