Gift of life for Zeke

THE bright eyes of Zeke Harrison tell nothing of what he has been through in his short lifetime.

Zeke, who suffers from a rare metabolic disorder called maple syrup urine disease, has been given his life back, after receiving a new liver from an unknown child.

When he was only days old, Zeke died five times on his way to hospital - with doctors telling his family there was a one in 150,000 chance of Zeke surviving.

The condition, which affects only seven people in Australia, meant he was unable to break down protein and had to follow a strict diet.

It also affected the three-year-old's mental health, with dad Corey saying Zeke's whole way of life was impacted by the disease.

The only cure for a new life was a liver transplant.

"We found out a liver had become available last Saturday and within seven hours, Zeke was in surgery," Mr Harrison said.

"It was a long 12 hour wait during the operation but after he came out we asked the doctors what would happen now and they just looked at us and said our boy had been cured, that he would be a normal happy boy again."

But with the joy comes a pang of sadness for the child whose liver has made Zeke's dreams possible.

"A poor child has passed away but we know the child will live on in Zeke," Mr Harrison said.

"We are forever grateful and I will write a letter to thank the family - it might take me a year to work out how to express our thanks, but I will do it."

Mr Harrison said his son's new smile and normal behaviour was proof of what organ donation made possible.

"It hasn't just changed Zeke's life, it's changed all our lives," he said.

Zeke remains at the Royal Children's Hospital, but is expected to be released home in a week.

"There's been some hard moments - when we got the first call saying there was something wrong, when I helplessly heard how his heart stopped beating four times," Mr Harrison said.

"He's been in and out of ICU, but every time he wakes up, every time he looks up at you, it's the best feeling in the world.

"He's smiling again now and for it to happen so soon is just a miracle.

"But the entire joy of this new life won't hit me until he's scoffing down a cheeseburger like every other boy."

Liver transplant gives young boy a chance to shine

A poor child has passed away but we know the child will live on in Zeke. - Corey Harrison

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