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Greenleaf baby in fight of her life, liver donor needed

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 3:26 PM CST
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GREENLEAF, Wis. (WBAY) - Not even a month old, a baby girl from Greenleaf is in the fight of her life. Lydia Pennenberg is in desperate need of a liver transplant.

The youngest and only girl in the family, Lydia Pennenberg was born on February 16th weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces. According to her dad, Andy Pennenberg, “Pretty routine, we were out of the hospital, we went home 24 hours after. Just had some routine follow ups with her bilirubin and after a few check ups, things weren’t really adding up.”

A trip to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, last week, led to a diagnosis of acute liver failure. “They thought maybe they could use some options where, if they gave her medicine and gave her some time her liver would kind of fix itself because it can regenerate on its own. So, I feel like the beginning of this week is when numbers weren’t changing,” says mom, Jessica Pennenberg.

And at less than a month old, it was determined Lydia would need a liver transplant to survive. Her dad says, “She’s been just tremendous. She’s just so strong and doing a great job. She’s very alert, she’s feeding normally and you wouldn’t think anything else was wrong.”

Being monitored closely and medicated, her hospital team and family are now looking for a liver donor. The ideal candidate would be 18 to 40 years old, type A or O blood, and weighing 80 pounds or less -- because Lydia is so small. Shannon Sova is living donor transplant nurse coordinator for Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. She says, “The liver is a very unique organ because of its ability to regenerate and so each segment or portion of the liver has its own blood supply and so we are able to take that from an adult, but we have to find a very small portion and so the smaller the person, the smaller the segment to donate to the baby.”

The Pennenberg family is taking their plea to Facebook, hoping to get as many eyes as possible on Lydia’s story, confident someone will help their little girl.

“We know it’s not going to be easy, but we know there’s a great fighting chance,” says Andy Pennenberg. He adds, “And there’s a lot of people out there that want to make a difference and I can’t think of any better difference they can make than saving a baby’s life.”

People who think you meet they criteria, to be a potential donor for Lydia, are asked to register online to be screened. The online application is the quickest and most efficient way to try and help Lydia.

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