Richmond toddler's family needs help funding liver transplant

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Richmond toddler's family needs help funding liver transplant. (KTRK)

A Richmond area toddler is turning two years old this Sunday.

If he is to see many birthdays beyond that, his doctors say he will need a liver transplant.

"This is a very serious disease and there is no cure," said his mother Shayna Barker.

Ashton has something called Biliary Atresia. Doctors say it's the single greatest cause for liver transplants in children worldwide.

"It's a mystery disease. We don't know why people get it," said Texas Children's Hospital Dr. Sanjiv Harpavat.

Ashton was diagnosed at a few weeks old and had his first surgery before he'd been alive even a month, according to his mother. Procedures and treatments so far have delayed what appears to be the inevitable now: Ashton needs a transplant to survive.

"Today, he's OK. Tomorrow could be a completely different story," said Dr. Harpavat.

Transplant surgeries are incredibly costly. They can run $500,000 or more. The Children's Organ Transplant Association is a national charity trying to help raise funds to cover some of Ashton's bills. You can find a link here to their .

"Words can't even express the level of gratitude that my entire family would feel," said Ashton's mother about the prospect of strangers donating to help her son.

Ashton is on a waiting list for a new liver as they try to raise money for the procedure. Barker notes that 100 percent of donations to Ashton made through COTA would go directly to his care. The funds are even tax deductible.

Little Ashton is showing everyone how to handle adversity - with grace and an undying spirit.

"It would be very easy for a child who doesn't understand to just not have a smile, to be cranky all the time and fussy all the time and rightfully so if he were. But he smiles through it all," said Barker.

COTA has a fundraiser planned for Saturday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dinner, raffle and auction will be held in honor of Ashton Guerra at St. Andrew's Parish Hall in Hilje, Texas.

To get to know Ashton and read more on his fight, you can log onto a Facebook page created on his behalf.

To find out more about BA, please visit Liver Foundation's website or the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

To sign up as an organ donor, just log on to Donate Life Texas.

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