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Alice’s Story: A 2-year-old fighter who survived a liver transplant

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YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Alice Adams was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia (BA) three days shy of her first month.

Alice was born July 9, 2018, with a rare condition that affects 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 18,000 births. She had complications for her whole first year of life, even spending her first birthday at the Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Her parents Tara Rivera and Sheldon Adams, have been through a total of eight surgeries with Alice. She was listed for a liver transplant in January of 2019.

The hospital became a second home for Alice and her family. They traveled back and forth between their Yuma home and the Phoenix Children's Hospital where routine visits turned into long treatments.

"They would find something wrong, so you would have to spend a week," Adams explained. "So, we would always pack for like a full week even if they told us that it was just for a routine treatment."

In July 2019, a surgeon at the Phoenix Children's Hospital told Alice's mom she was no longer a candidate for a liver transplant because of her physical anomalies.

A fundraiser organized by the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) helped the family gather funds for hotels, meals, travel expenses, and medical funds. Local friends, family, and businesses of the Yuma community donated to allow Alice to get a second opinion.

Rivera and her daughter Alice traveled to the Stanford Lucile Packard's Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California. There, the surgeon gave the family the green light to move forward with the liver transplant.

"Between the two surgeons there, they gave us a call, and the coordinator told us that it was a go, " Rivera said.

Alice received her new liver on September 7, 2019. Her dad, Sheldon, says this is an essential date for their family because it's almost like a second birthday for Alice.

"She kind of gets two birthdays now," Adams said. "Her birth birthday and then her re-birthday."

Upon approaching the one-year mark in a few months, Alice is beginning to accomplish infant milestones her parents dreamed of watching. She is slowly learning how to walk and just recently took her first steps.

Health / Local News / Top Stories / Yuma County
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After a short 3 ½ years, she earned bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish but gained memories and friendships she will always remember.

She began her broadcast journalism career through NAZ Today, northern Arizona’s local news station, by covering breaking news, building relationships with the community, learning to produce a newscast and anchoring live. Although she will miss her snowy mountain town, she is excited to further her broadcast career and take on the heat in a great city like Yuma.

She is looking forward to floating down at the Colorado River, riding dirt bikes at the sand dunes, and most importantly, serving the community through local news.

You can send any story ideas her way by emailing april.hettinger@kecytv.com.

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