Benefits to help Baby Summer

CONTRIBUTEDSummer Laforme is in need of a liver transplant and friends of the family are organizing fundraisers to help support her family.

A Lockport family has been experiencing quite a difficult time with their latest child, who is in need of a liver transplant. 

Summer Laforme was born on July 19, 2018, which was three and a half weeks earlier than expected.

Maria Laforme, Summer's mother, said at Summer's second month appointment the doctors noticed that she had "extremely yellow skin," and she was diagnosed with jaundice. Maria added that the reason for the yellow skin was that Summer's liver is not excreting bile. 

"It had nowhere else to go but the rest of her body," she said. 

They were sent to Oishei Children's Hospital to get blood work done, and they were later sent to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. 

On Sept. 24, Summer had a Kasai Procedure, which attached the intestine to the liver so the bile could be drained. 

She was diagnosed with Bilary Artesia after the Kasai Procedure. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines it as "a condition in infants in which the bile ducts outside and inside the liver are scarred and blocked. Bile can’t flow into the intestine, so bile builds up in the liver and damages it. The damage leads to scarring, loss of liver tissue and function, and cirrhosis."

Her family is currently searching for a liver donor for her. 

Summer has been on the transplant list since November, and they've had two donors so far go for testing, but their livers were too big.

Maria said the doctors have placed Summer high on a transplant list, and she is hopeful that soon she will get a transplant.  

The entire process has affected the family in numerous ways. 

Maria said she no longer can work because of the special medicine that her daughter has to be given. Summer also can't go anywhere outside of the home because doctors don't want her to be exposed to any germs. They also can't introduce germs into the home, so they can't have friends or family at their house. 

Maria added that it has been "very hard financially" on her family. 

Two fundraisers have been setup to help raise money for the family's medical expenses. A benefit has been organized by Rainbow of Help Inc. at Wrights Corner Fire Co. from 1 to 7 p.m. March 30. A basket raffle will be held and the organizers are still looking for baskets to raffle off.

Some of the baskets to be raffled off include: a week stay in a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, golfing packages, a Jacuzzi sweet package at Russel's Steak Chops and More, original paintings and some prints from local artists such as Manning McCandish, Nikki Miley and Jeannette Johnson-Pikturna, dinner gift certificates, a karate class package and children's bicycles. 

Admission is free and there will be a pasta dinner that people can purchase. For more information, contact either Cindy Horner at 417-2656 or Colleen Gaskill at 628-9023. 

In addition, the family will benefit from proceeds from the annual Niagara-Orleans Bud Gillings/Gordon Botting Memorial Bowling Tournament & Basket Raffle, which will be held on March 9. The event is being held at Allie Brandt Lanes, 6510 Lincoln Ave. 

To compete with a team of five people, it costs $60. The event starts at 1 p.m. Participants need to register beforehand at the bowling alley.  

For more information, contact Melody at 531-2357. 

Maria appreciated the fundraisers being organized for her, and said: "It’s just nice to know I have friends and family that help us. I think it’s great showing what a community can do."

She said she would like to inform the public about the importance of liver donation because "not a lot of people know" they can donate part of their liver, and it could save "tons of babies lives."

A FaceBook page has been created to follow Summer Laforme's journey. Check it out at facebook.com/summerfaithsjourney.