Bollinger County boy needs life-saving liver transplant

Updated: Aug. 2, 2019 at 6:16 PM CDT
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BOLLINGER COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - He’s the miracle a Bollinger County couple thought they’d never have.

A baby boy born after his parents gave up hope.

Now, this family is hoping for a new kind of miracle and hoping you can help.

David and Angel Engelen have two boys, Keigan who they adopted when he was a baby nearly 12 years ago and Weston, the baby of their own they thought they’d never have.

“About a year and a half ago God said, ‘hey, surprise,’” said Angel Engelen. “He has mommy, daddy and big brother wrapped around his fingers.”

Angel said her pregnancy with Westson was a breeze.

“Had a big healthy baby boy he was nine pounds, 10 ounces when he was born and everything looked great,” said Angel.

She said when the doctors did the Bilirubin scan on his head, they thought the numbers were a little high and they referred them to Cardinal Glennon.

After weeks of probing and prodding doctors diagnosed Weston with Biliary Atresia, a problem in the liver.

“At seven weeks that’s when he had the Kasai procedure, that’s where they reroute his intestines to make the bile able to flow from the liver to the intestines to help with digestion and all of that,” said Angel.

Angel said Weston was doing really well after surgery and they were hopeful he was going to be okay but when Weston was five months old, his health took a turn for the worse and they began the search for a liver donor.

"With a liver you can have a living donor but they don’t recommend it with children they recommend a complete liver in children,” said Angel.

Something she said makes this journey even more difficult.

"It is a double edge sword and as a mom, I get emotional with this stuff as a mom that crosses my mind because in order for my child to live somebody else has got to lose theirs and that breaks my heart just because I can't imagine losing him,” said Angel.

Right now, Weston is in stable condition, but Angel said that could change anytime. “To me its nerve wrecking. I’m constantly on edge when it comes to him,” said Angel.

Even with all he's been through his family said Weston keeps a smile on his face.

“We couldn’t ask for him to be any better he is normally very happy easy going smiley. He’s already grown into his little personality.”

The cost of a liver transplant often exceeds $800,000.

So the Engelen family is partnering with the children’s organ transplant association, a nonprofit out of Bloomington, Indiana, that helps families get the money they need for the lifesaving surgery.

For more information on how you can help the Engelen family, click here.

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