Medical Research

published : 2023-12-10

Pittsburgh Boy, 10, Fights for Life: Second Liver Transplant Needed

Family Launches 'Save Lucas' Campaign to Raise Organ Donor Awareness

A heartwarming photo of Lucas Goeller, the 10-year-old Pittsburgh boy in need of a second liver transplant, surrounded by his loving family. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Lucas Goeller, a 10-year-old boy from Pittsburgh, is in a battle for his life.

Born with a rare and life-threatening condition called biliary atresia, Lucas is in urgent need of a second liver transplant.

His first transplant, received as a toddler, is now failing, and his survival hinges on finding another donor.

Despite long months spent on the transplant list, Lucas did not receive any offers for organ donation.

His mother, Jessica Goeller, decided to create a Facebook page dedicated to Lucas, which led to a viral national campaign.

This campaign caught the attention of a Nebraska family who eventually became a donor for Lucas's first liver transplant.

An inspiring image showcasing the power of community support, as the city of Pittsburgh rallies behind the 'Save Lucas' campaign with billboards spreading the message of organ donor awareness. (Taken with a Canon EOS R)

After the initial transplant, Lucas experienced eight beautiful years of a normal, healthy life.

But this year, routine medical scans and blood work revealed that his liver is failing again.

His failing liver is now affecting his lung function and ammonia levels, which poses a significant threat to his development.

Dr. George Mazariegos, chief of pediatric transplantation at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, emphasizes the importance of a timely transplant to prevent further complications.

The Goellers have launched the 'Save Lucas' campaign once again, with the aim of not only finding a liver for Lucas but also raising awareness about the critical need for organ donors.

Children on transplant lists face various challenges, including the greater demand for adult transplants, imperfect allocation policies, and a lack of centers with the capacity for complex transplants.

Dr. George Mazariegos, chief of pediatric transplantation at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, discussing the importance of timely transplants and collaboration among medical centers to save lives. (Taken with a Sony Alpha A7III)

Dr. Mazariegos advocates for collaboration among centers to ensure every child receives the life-saving transplants they need.

Raising awareness about living donation is also crucial in expanding the pool of potential donors.

The city of Pittsburgh has shown immense support by donating billboards and launching media campaigns to spread the word about Lucas's need for a liver.

Beyond saving Lucas's life, the Goellers hope to inspire conversations about organ donation and the importance of collaboration in saving lives.

Lucas Goeller, a brave young boy, continues to find joy in the little things, inspiring his family to stay positive and focus on the positives in life.

The plight of Lucas serves as a reminder that life-saving donation is possible through the love and selflessness of others.