'Every day was a bonus' 

Shohanna Newman-Kidd likes dancing, running and painting rainbows, but she's had to fight hard to enjoy doing what other children take for granted.

Shohanna was born in 1998 without a bile duct, a condition called biliary atresia, which meant her liver couldn't work properly and poisons were building up in her system. When she was just four weeks old, Shohanna had the first of two operations designed to correct the problem.

Her mother Deloris Newman recalls how her daughter's treatment dominated everything: "She was on 12 medications, some three times a day. I had to mix a special feed for her and insert a feeding tube through her nose and into her stomach. We hardly got out at all. She developed rickets too, as a result of her liver problems."

When Shohanna was two-and-a-half, her health deteriorated. "The doctors said a liver transplant was urgently needed. Within five days of her going on the transplant list, we had a late night call to say there was a liver for her," says Deloris.

"We'd thought we might have to wait for years and I felt we were going ahead of other children who'd been waiting longer, but we were assured that it was all about who was the best possible match."

Shohanna had a split liver transplant. She received the smaller lobe of a liver, while the larger part was transplanted into an adult patient.

"I'm very proud of how she's coped. She understands what's happened to her, knows about healthy eating and is happy to try any new food. She also understands that she has to take it easy sometimes when her friends are racing about. She's even fine with the bitter taste of the steroids and immunosuppressants. Sadly, she has developed eczema, which is another battle for her, but she manages."

Deloris admits that when Shohanna was in hospital for her operations it was hard to imagine her going on outings, or taking part in school sports days. "Every day was a bonus then. The doctors didn't expect her to do so well, but she showed us all."

Page last reviewed: 12/01/2015

Next review due: 12/01/2017