This is the emotional moment a dad was reunited with his adoptive daughter after he donated part of his liver to save her life.
Peter McKay, 38, was moved to tears as he watched over baby Darcy hours after a portion of his vital organ was transplanted into the sick tot.
Darcy had been battling progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2, or PFIC2, which prevents liver cells from flushing out bile, forcing it into the bloodstream.
The rare genetic disease left the little girl writhing in discomfort as she suffered debilitating body-wide itching and turned her skin yellow.
College admissions officer Peter, who adopted Darcy, now aged four, with his partner Chris, 35, said: “It was painful to witness. It broke our hearts.
“We wanted our child to be exploring the world and it was hard to see her beautiful, bubbly, outgoing personality be hampered by this condition.”
Doctors initially said the youngster might need a transplant at some point in her life but as her condition rapidly deteriorated the clock began to tick.
Rather than wait for a donor to become available, Peter and Chris decided to get tested to see if they were a blood match for the baby girl and, incredibly, they both were.
The following month, at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Peter underwent surgery to remove 15 per cent of his liver which was transplanted into Darcy.
A few hours after the seven-hour procedure, Peter was reunited with Darcy and an emotional photo taken by Chris shows him sitting at the side of her hospital bed.
Speaking through tears, Peter recalled: “At that moment I wasn’t feeling the gravity of the situation, or pride for having donated a piece of my liver.
“I was just a dad looking at his kid, just knowing that now she has a future.”
The liver – which can regenerate – grew back in both patients, and now little Darcy is back to full strength.
Peter, of Brooklyn, New York, added: “Facing the real possibility that our child could die was devastating and we were going to do absolutely everything we could to help her.
“Having that piece of biology that now connects Darcy and I means so much to me.
“It was magic and science coming together.”
Chris added: “We knew what Darcy was going through every second of every day, and we knew what the final outcome would be if the transplant didn’t happen.
“To be able to give her the gift of health, the gift of a regular life, wasn’t even a question for us.”
Peter and Chris, who works in entertainment marketing, adopted Darcy into their family in 2013, three years after they got married in June 2010.
They were in the delivery room when she was born and had a relationship with the birth mother through the pregnancy, even picking Darcy’s name themselves.
But when she was two months old they began to notice that she had a yellowish tint in her eyes and skin, and a check-up hinted that she was seriously ill.
The family were referred to a liver specialist and after undergoing a string of tests, doctors, Darcy was diagnosed with PFIC2 in in January 2014.
If left untreated, the disease – which affects just 50,000 to 100,000 worldwide – would shut Darcy’s liver down and, without a transplant, she could die.
Rather than having Darcy’s name added to a 2,000-strong liver waiting list, Peter and Chris got tested to see if they could be living donors – and were both matches.
Peter decided to donate because his job is more flexible – and also so he would have a special biological link with Darcy, who shares Chris’s surname.
On June 30 2015, Peter was sedated so surgeons could remove 15 per cent of his liver, which was then carried over to Darcy and transplanted into her.
Peter was discharged after five days and Darcy went home two days later. Two years on and the youngster, now aged four, is fighting fit and has a normal life expectancy.
And as well as a liver, the dad and daughter duo even share matching scars. Peter’s is 3ins long and stretches across his waist, and Darcy’s is in the shape of peace sign.
Peter, who also has a second child, one-year-old Sebastian, with Chris, added: “It’s a wonderful physical reminder of the way we are connected.”
Dr. Benjamin Samstein, chief of liver transplants of New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, added: “Darcy is a beautiful child who you couldn’t tell had a liver transplant.
“Without the transplant she would not be alive but when you are a living donor you actually save two lives; it also enables the next person on the list to get a transplant.”
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