10-month-old boy in need of liver transplant finds match in his mom

CHARLOTTE — A 10-month-old boy with an extremely rare liver disease and in desperate need of an organ transplant, found a match in his mother.

“He proves me wrong every day by being a chipper baby like he doesn’t look like what he’s going through,” Tisha Hibbler said.

Her son, King, was only days old when he was diagnosed with biliary atresia. The liver disease is most common in infants and severe cases could stop growth or allow serious infections.

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King required his first major surgery within weeks.

“It wasn’t going to fix the issue,” his mother said. “It was supposed to prolong the issue for him to reach two, three, four years old.”

At 10-months old, King required a liver transplant. Tisha Hibbler and her husband, Tyrone Hibbler, were first in line to offer their livers.

“Tyrone actually tried first to do the living donor,” Hibbler said. “He was a match, all except for the size of liver. His was so large.”

The mother’s liver was a perfect match for her son. Between the two of them, the surgery took a total of 16 hours. Surgeons at Duke Hospital removed a third of her liver to transplant into King’s body.

“It’s not like taking a cancer out, because when you’re taking a cancer out, all you’re focused on is getting the cancer out,” said Dr. Deepak Vikraman, who was one of the surgeons. “Not focusing on, ‘Oh, I’m going to preserve the blood vessel. Here we are actually taking the organ out but at the same time, we have to take the organ out to put it into somebody else and connect all the bits and pieces back together.”

“I need y’all to come on out of this,” Tyrone Hibbler recalls thinking during the surgery.

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The surgeries were successful. Tisha Hibbler and King had to spend weeks apart recovering due to COVID-19 protocols.

“Those small donations. Those small prayers. Those text messages. Whatever the case may be, it’s helped me personally as I was in those hotel rooms by myself waiting to hear back,” Tisha Hibbler said. “It meant a lot. So just a quick thank you, because sitting waiting to hear back about your 10-month-old son, that’s a lot. And also knowing that I needed to make it home to my three other children. Every thought really meant something to me.”

>>To donate money for King and Tisha’s recovery, click here for their GoFundMe.

(Watch video below: Family Focus: Local organization works to increase minority organ donors)