Sarah and Chris St. James were ecstatic when they found out Sarah was pregnant with her second child – a little baby.
And like all parents, they were happy when their daughter was born into the world without complications.
But only when they took her home did they discover that something was wrong.
Their daughter, Sloan, was born healthy, but when she was two months old her parents noticed she was getting plump, especially in the belly area.
She ate normally, and developed as she should.
But as her belly continued to grow and grow, Sarah and Chris became more and more worried and concerned.
Instead of taking Sloan to a regular pediatrician, Sarah and Chris took her to the hospital for a routine four-month-old checkup.
Unfortunately, the doctor discovered something sad, and told a couple of news that no parent wanted to hear.
Most parents would surely have been broken by the bad news, and maybe even trying to find a way to get it – but this couple did not intend to give up their girl without a fight.
When Chris and Sarah took Sloan to the hospital, they were very worried.
They realized that their daughter’s belly was not growing at a normal rate, but at the same time they hoped that the doctor would tell them news that would comfort them.
But instead, their daughter was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called biliary obstruction, which blocks and damages the bile ducts. Bile accumulates in the liver, which eventually collapses from stress if the disease is not treated in time.
Sloan’s short life faced a huge challenge. Sarah said:
“We thought we were bringing her in for a routine check-up, but instead we received some very difficult news. Everything we feared came true”.
Sloan returned home from the hospital, but had to return again shortly after. Just one week after diagnosis, the family returned to the intensive care unit at the hospital.
The only thing that could save the baby’s life was a liver transplant, and she did not have much time.
Neither Sarah nor Chris matched the girl’s blood type, O, so they told their story to everyone they knew in hopes of finding a donor.
The laws regarding organ donation are extremely strict. The donor must be a friend or family member, and he must agree to donate, free of charge.
The donor also needs to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and of course, he needs to be physically healthy.
A close friend of the family, Jake Tenny, saw the post the family wrote on social media, and shared it on Facebook.
Then an unexpected hero enters the picture. The foreign man was a perfect fit in more than one way, since he was already used to saving lives.
It was Jake’s brother, Steve Tenny, who came to the baby’s aid. Steve is a veteran who has been working as a police officer for 18 years.
He is 40 years old and in good shape. He has not had to go for a doctor’s examination for more than a decade and has never spent a night in the hospital – until now.
After Steve underwent a series of tests, the doctors immediately removed part of his liver. They took about 20% of the organ before returning it to Steve’s body. At this point, Steve has not even met Sloan, whose life he is about to save.
Did not hesitate
“Fortunately, here, I was in good shape. My wife and I talked about it and there was no question – if you can help save the life of a 4-month-old baby, that’s something you’re going to do”, Steve said.
Fortunately, both surgeries were successful. The liver is one of the only organs in the human body that can heal itself, so Steve’s liver will heal.
And as Sloan will grow, her liver will get stronger and stronger.
Although some of her liver was removed, the little girl got something much better. Not everyone can say that they carry with them part of a hero wherever they go!
This is one of the most beautiful stories we have heard in a long time. Sloan’s life could have ended after just four months, but thanks to Steve’s unselfish and moving gesture, this story had a happy ending!