Some five years ago, Julissa Cerda brought her baby daughter Delilah to the Miami Transplant Institute for a rare multi-organ transplant. 


And this year, the Texan mum had to repeat the agonising process with her one-year-old boy, Liam.


Both of Julissa and husband Jose's kids were diagnosed with Berdon syndrome, a rare disease affecting one in about a million children.


It affects the muscles of the bladders and bowels and makes it impossible for the children to hold own food. Most babies born with it don't live past a year without treatment. 


"It didn't make it any easier to have to do it twice," Julissa told the Miami Herald. "As a parent, it's very hard. But I stay strong for both of them. They're the ones going through it. I'm just the support system." 


Liam underwent Florida's first ever eight-organ transplant. 



He received a new liver, stomach, pancreas, large and small intestine, kidneys and bladder. 


Worryingly, the nine-hour surgery wasn't a sure thing. Julissa's daughter, now six, received seven new organs in 2011. 


However, things went as smoothly as they could, and little Liam is now recovering in hospital, which he hasn't left since his birth. 


Now, several weeks after his surgery, he's finally started eating solid foods, including bananas, peas and - his favourites - carrots.


"Liam is doing very, very good," Julissa told


"After his transplant, he hasn't had any isues about feeding. It's the first time he's eaten through the mouth. He's eating baby food right now."


Immediately after the surgery, Julissa said she could tell her son felt better. Before the transplant, he was often tired and irritable.


"About a week after transplant, he was taken off sedation he was ready to get up and play," she said. 


"He was sitting up and getting on his walker...He's a very playful, happy baby."


It's hoped that the boy will be able to go home in about four weeks. 




And once he's home, he'll have plenty of family to take care of him. In fact, his sister Delilah is already "overprotective" of her little brother.


"She's only six years old and you would be very surprised how well she takes care of him," Julissa said. "She's very cautious and washes her hands and wears a mask around him."


While things are looking up for the family, Liam and Delilah face a lifetime of anti-rejection medicine and regular visits to the hospital.


But the good news is that their odds are looking good. 


"Outcomes from intestinal transplant have really improved over the last 20 years," paediatric gastro-enterologist, Jennifer Garcia told said.


"The one-year survival is about 90 percent for paediatrics. The five-year survival rate is about 70 to 80 percent. And once you get past five years, it plateaus and stays at 70 to 80 percent."


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