Macey O’Kelley, 6, could die if she shares.
Because she had a liver transplant, she cannot be exposed to many germs. She uses the teacher’s bathroom, and she can’t share lunches. An infection could kill her.
Along with Randi Swersky from the American Liver Foundation, Macey told her story to all of the first graders at Valley View Elementary School. Swersky’s seventh anniversary of her liver and kidney transplant is coming up on Feb. 2.
“We have to be very careful, and her friends need to know why in this case, sharing is not a good thing,” said Swersky, who also brought coloring books about the liver and showed slides of what they look like and what they do. Swersky is a regional ambassador for Donate Life (onelegacy.org).
The liver saves energy, helps stop bleeding and people with transplants cannot be exposed to germs.
Her mother Harri O’Kelley made a book about Macey’s ordeal with photographs showing her after surgery. Macey showed the book to her friends and explained what all the tubes were and how they kept her alive.
“We have been to more than 20 schools to find a place that is small enough and can accommodate her needs, and the teachers and principal at Valley View has been very helpful,” O’Kelley said.
Macey’s brother Jordan and sister Rachel also attend the school.
The children’s mom said that all she knows about the donor is that it came from a baby in the South who died in a car accident.
“Someday we would like to contact the family and Macey would like to thank them,” O’Kelley said.
(See the videos and photos of the class and Macey with Randi Swersky.)