NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An aunt gave the ultimate gift this holiday season to her 1-year-old nephew whose family says he was sick and getting worse by the hour.
One-year-old Aiden is alert, happy and curious — maybe even a bit sassy. By all accounts, he’s a normal toddler, but looks can be deceiving, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
“I was petrified, like I really felt like I was going to lose my son,” Aiden’s mother, Janelle Little, said choking back tears.
Around Thanksgiving, Aiden became sick.
“He was yellow,” Little said.
He was admitted to the children’s hospital in Buffalo, New York.
“He was there for about two days, and he kept on getting worse and worse,” Little said.
From there, he was airlifted to a New York City hospital.
“It was just downhill after that. They had to put him on life support,” Little said.
Aiden’s mother was told he needed a liver transplant and fast.
“Seeing him on life support, that’s when it all like I broke down,” the boy’s aunt, Josephine, said.
With hope of a donor quickly fading, family and friends volunteered to donate a piece of their livers. Josephine ended up being a match.
“I didn’t know what was all entailed in the surgery and recovery and stuff, but I didn’t care. It wasn’t about me, it was about him,” she said.
His aunt immediately flew to New York City from Buffalo.
“Now with the transplant, their bond is even stronger,” Little said.
Aiden and his mother have been living in a hotel for about a month. They decorated for Christmas and tried to make it feel like home, but said they really miss Buffalo.
His 3-year-old sister is back in Buffalo with her father. The distance has been tough on the family, but they’re forever grateful they’ll remain a family of four when they return.
“If it wasn’t for my sister, I don’t know if he would be alive,” Little said.
They hope to go home by January 11, if the hospital gives him the OK.