You probably remember the Heartland baby named Zoe. We introduced you to her last year. She was born with a genetic liver disease, and needed a new liver to survive. Her dad was a perfect match, and just a few weeks before her first birthday, doctors transplanted a small part her father's liver into Zoe.
It's been over a year since the surgery, and Tuesday, October 29th, the family is celebrating another big milestone, Zoe's second birthday. Zoe is doing very well, and for the first time in her life, she looks and acts like other little girls her age.
Two year old Zoe Knight is doing something her parents thought she would never be able to do: celebrate her second birthday. Her dad, Larry says, "She's got the resilience of a warrior. She amazes me everyday. She's talking more, walking, learning new words everyday. She's not like she was a year ago."
About a year ago a feeding tube was the only way Zoe could eat. She had to gain weight before doctors implanted a small section of her dad's liver into her body. A year later, the surgery was a success. She likes spending time with her big sisters, and parents. Her dad, Larry, says everyday is a blessing.
"Everyone keeps telling me I'm a hero, but I'm not, the surgeons are the heroes," Larry says. "The people who gave us support, they're the heroes."
Zoe still has to take five medications everyday, and goes to St. Louis once a week so doctors can monitor her liver. Larry and Crystal Knight hope that someday, Zoe will only have to take one medication, and go to St. Louis once a month. She'll always have to take medication to keep her body from rejecting her liver, and her parents have to keep a close eye on every sniffle or sneeze. "She's prone to get a little sicker than most people, and her immune system's a little weaker," Larry says. "We don't take her out when it's rainy or bad weather."
Zoe will always require special care, but she won't have to go far to find that care and love from her parents. Larry says, "I just did what every father would have done, I love my kids."