SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A mother who lives in Syracuse, New York, spent much of last year in the hospital with her baby. He was barely surviving a liver disease when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. She traveled across state lines and now is relocating near the hospital to help him recover.
At just two-months-old Kasen Donerlson developed a rare liver disease called biliary atresia.
To improve his chances of survival, he would need a liver transplant.
"When his liver began to decline, we had to kind of like push up the stakes,” said his mother, Mitayah Donerlson.
She decided a hospital in Pittsburgh was the best option for her son's procedure.
But between the back and forth visits to Pittsburgh waiting for news about a donor, Mitayah found herself back in a Syracuse hospital after Kasen developed a fever in November.
Donerlson was told 10-month-old Kasen had tested positive for COVID-19, having no idea where the virus had come from.
"I didn't think he was going to make it,” she told WSTM. “I didn't think he was going to suppress the COVID."
But after four days in the hospital, Kasen did make it. "He always seems to wow his doctors. He is a blessing. He is a blessing, and he is a miracle."
Then just two weeks later in December - another miracle.
Kasen had a liver donor.
All his mother could do was cry. "My heart was so overjoyed that that's all I could do.”
He got the procedure just this past Sunday, and mom says he's in good spirits.
The family is not relocating to Pittsburgh while Kasen recovers.
"The financial hardship of that is very hard. I have to juggle both home and my living arrangements here," said his mother.
As she plans to make it all work, she's also ready to celebrate his very first birthday on Jan. 14.
A birthday he was not guaranteed with a mom now hopeful for many more.
Other family members also tested positive for COVID-19.
All of them survived.