By NBF News

The mother of a toddler with a rare liver disease who underwent two transplants is campaigning to raise funds to help other children.

Ava Raffour, now a year old, suffered cardiac arrests and organ failure, leaving her family fearing the worst.

But her mother Laura Thomas, of Cardiff, said Ava had “kept fighting” and recently took her first steps.

Ms Thomas is now urging people to take part in a fundraising day for children in a similar situation.

Ava had surgery to correct a heart defect within hours of birth and was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare childhood liver disease.

She underwent life-saving surgery at four weeks old, but it failed to correct the problem and her only option was a transplant.

It was completely heartbreaking… but she kept fighting and was finally well enough for a chance at life

Laura Thomas
Her first liver transplant was at the age of 22 weeks but her body rejected the new organ.

She was seriously ill and suffered multiple cardiac arrests and organ failures.

Her mother said: “Ava wasn't strong enough to get through the liver transplant she desperately needed to survive.

“It was completely heartbreaking. But she kept fighting and was finally well enough for a chance at life.

“That was the longest three days of our lives.”
Ava had a second transplant and surprised her family by taking her first steps last month.

“Surgery left her abdominal muscles in a terrible condition, so we were prepared for her movement to be impaired,” said her mother.

“But she's had none of it and is bumbling around, exploring the house. It's just wonderful.”

Ms Thomas said she had received great support from the Children's Liver Disease Foundation (CDLF) and is now urging people to support a fundraising day for the charity on Friday.

“CLDF family support team was on hand from the day Ava's liver disease was diagnosed, giving us vital information and advice and listening to our worries. I don't know what we'd do without them,” she said.

The foundation supports families, educates healthcare professionals, and helps fund research into the causes and treatment of childhood liver disease.