Baby who needed liver transplant dies in parents’ arms, week after plea for donor

WAUKESHA, Wis. (WBAY/Gray News) - About a week after a baby’s parents made a public plea in hopes of finding him a liver donation, the 5-month-old Wisconsin boy died, WBAY reports.

Marcus Albers, 5 months, died early Wednesday morning, as announced on the family’s GoFundMe page. The boy had a rare genetic disorder called immunodeficiency 47 that destroyed his liver.

Marcus’ story made national headlines after it was discovered April 2, the morning of his surgery for a partial liver transplant, that the organ was not a perfect match. The boy’s parents, Tony Albers and Whitney McLean, who were not able to donate to their son, made a public plea in hopes of finding him a new donor.

Though doctors only needed 25 percent of a donor’s liver to help Marcus and thousands volunteered, the baby eventually became too sick for surgery, according to the boy’s parents in a statement released by WITI.

The statement read in part: Marcus “passed away peacefully in our arms, with his caring doctors, loving nurses and amazing staff by his side."

The boy’s parents thanked everyone who volunteered but said they were ultimately disappointed by the living donor screening process.

“There should have been a better system in place to handle the large volume of selfless people attempting to call and be screened,” they said in the statement.

On the GoFundMe page, fundraisers thanked everyone for their support, including “thousands of donor inquiries," “charitable donations” and “countless thoughts and prayers.”

In two weeks, the GoFundMe raised more than $24,000 for the boy and his family.

Before Marcus’ death, there were only 12 known cases of immunodeficiency 47 in the world. The disease attacks the liver, giving patients a week to live. It is passed down through the mother, and only baby boys are at risk of showing symptoms.

Sadly, Marcus’ 2-year-old brother, Dominic, has the same disease and will someday need a transplant, too.

Marcus’ family asks that people who were touched by their son’s story consider adding their names to an organ donor registry to help other children like him, WITI reports.

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