She often pauses in disbelief as she narrates her own story. Even months later, it is difficult for Lynn Hampson to believe.
One day in 2008, when their first-born was just a baby, Lynn and her husband Jason noticed their son eyes looked yellow. Doctors didn’t agree. But, at the parents’ insistence, they ordered blood tests and discovered baby Logan’s liver was failing. The case baffled doctors for two reasons --- there was absolutely no family history of liver problems, and his liver failure went undiagnosed.
"I felt it was my job to fix him because he was my baby," she says. So when doctors at SickKids told Lynn and her husband Jason that their son required a liver transplant, Lynn darted to the front of the line.
Initial attempts at inserting the liver of a deceased donor failed. The clock began ticking.
Lynn’s liver was next to be tested. “It was perfect. They took the old one out and put the new one in. There was nothing they needed to worry about. It just fit.”
Reflecting back on that stressful and agonizing time, Lynn recalls, “We knew nobody that had a transplant. We had no experience with it." She pauses again as she recounts the operation that saw her liver removed and inserted into her 21-month old son. “There were the normal risks of any normal surgery. They don’t know much about the longevity of living donors. I don’t have any idea what 25 years will mean to me. That wasn’t a thought until after.”
As this medical drama played out at SickKids, the Hampson family were able to get a room at Ronald McDonald House Toronto’s former residence on Gerrard Street. They lived there for a month, while mother and son recuperated. "It was a big relief. I had never spent more than one night away from Logan."
"He was just an amazing little kid. But even we didn't realize how sick this child was til after the transplant. He shocked us. His energy level went through the roof. There was no keeping up with him. Everything changed. He ran better, walked better, even 10 days after the transplant."
Fast forward to 2011. The Hampsons welcomed their second addition, baby Alyson, in May.
While she was being treated in a hospital in their hometown of Hamilton, Ontario at 5 months of age, Jason Hampson noticed his baby daughter’s eyes appeared yellow. Again, doctors were reticent but conducted blood work that revealed, incredibly, an identical outcome --- a failing liver. The Hampsons were in the midst of a rare medical twist of fate. "We were told at one point that she had days. Part of me believed them,” says Lynn. “The idea that it could happen twice was not really something anyone was expecting.”
Two siblings. Two liver transplants. Both donors --- their parents. A modern medical wonder.
What happened next was even more astounding. Dad Jason became his daughter’s liver donor.
"If I don't think about all the horrible stuff that happened, it's a pretty amazing situation,” says Lynn.
The family again stayed at Ronald McDonald House Toronto, in an apartment, during a 4-month-long stay, in the new House.
"It was just amazing, so comfortable. It was exciting that there was so much for Logan to do.
We signed him up for school instantly. I love the idea of a school here and he loves it."
“Living at the House meant everything. It made it so much easier. It made a huge impact, a positive impact. We had somewhere to go that was like home.”