Born with a genetic disease, Rachel Finch, 13, has received a liver transplant.
She is the daughter of Tom and Donna Finch, of Iola.
When Rachel was about 1 year old, she was hospitalized for rotavirus, a disease that causes severe intestinal problems.
“She was dehydrated and the doctors noticed that her veins were pronounced in her belly,” Donna Finch said. “They started to do blood work to see what may be going on and that is when we found out she had alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.”
The blood veins were pronounced because Rachel’s liver was clogged. Her blood could not flow through normally so the blood was backing up putting more pressure through small veins making them more visible, Finch said.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency causes serious liver disease in children.
“Rachel had very advanced cirrhosis of her liver,” said Donna. “With no cure for the disease, a liver transplant became the only option.”
Rachel was put on the donor list on July 23 of this year and received the transplant Oct 5.
“Rachel received 70 percent of a liver from a deceased donor. A smaller child received the remaining 30 percent,” Finch said.
Finch noted that this was Rachel’s first surgery and multiple proactive procedures will need to be done to stay on top of symptoms caused by the disease.
“Rachel is on the autism spectrum so she doesn’t fully understand everything that is happening at this time,” said Donna. “She is a strong willed and determined 13 year old with a bit of attitude which is helping her get through this ordeal.”
Rachel is described by her cousin, Kali Finch, as a sweetheart.
“She is a sweat, but a goofy, sassy girl that can put a smile on anyone’s face,” said Kali. “She is always laughing and smiling, and always sees the positive in everything.”
Rachel is expected to be hospitalized for three weeks and will not be able to return to school until after the first of the year.
“Until then, at least one of us will have to be with her,” her mother said.
“For the first month or more, we will have to go to Milwaukee twice a week for labs and clinic visits with the transplant team there,” she said.
A home health nurse will visit Rachel twice a week to monitor her blood pressure and help with dressing changes if needed.
“Tom and I have put in to be off of work for 12 weeks under family medical leave,” Finch said. “But because the leave is for a dependent, not our selves, the time off is without pay. We can use personal time we have but, much of that time was used up when Rachel was hospitalized in June.”
A benefit will be held for the family from 3-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at Silver Lake Lanes.
There will be a nine-pin bowling tournament from 3-6pm, food, drawings and prizes. Music will be
provided from 4-9pm.
“The funds will be used for all the aspects of the transplant process,” said Donna. “From transportation, to time we need off of work to help Rachel recover.”