Mother's Instinct Leads to Baby Sophia's Liver Disease Diagnosis


After having three healthy children, a fourth seemed like no problem at all for Kim and Scott VanErman.

But little did the VanErmen familiy know, their fourth child would need some extra love and now needs a liver transplant.

Sophia is only a little older than a year old, and she's sitting on the donor transplant list.

"Looking at her you'd never know something's wrong," Kim VanErmen said.

Sophia VanErmen takes one step at a time, as her family waits patiently one day at a time, and has been since she was born on July 13, 2012.

Just a couple days after Kim and Scott left the hospital in July, they noticed Sophia's skin was yellowing, a couple weeks later, it wasn't getting any better.

"I asked the nurse, 'Doesn't she look a little yellow to you?'" Kim VanErmen said.

That's when a mother's instinct helped nurses diagnose Sophia with Biliary Atresia 10 weeks after she was born.

"Her belly is protruding here," Kim VanErmen said. "Her liver is very large."

Biliary Atresia is a life-threatening condition in infants where bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings, and bile builds up and damages the liver, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"If she doesn't get a liver she will die," Kim VanErmen said.

One out of 18,000 infants get diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, and now Sophia sits high on the organ donation list for a liver transplant, Kim said.

Kim said even though Sophia can't tell them she's hurting, her body shows them. Sophia's eyes are yellow, and as of the last week she hasn't eaten much at all.

"She's in the third percentile for her height," Kim VanErmen said. "She's wearing 6-month-year-old pants."

As Sophia turns 16 months old in December, her family waits patiently for the pager sound of big news, and her small body waits for a big gift.

"She's been through more in her short, little life than I've ever been," Kim VanErmen said. "She's a fighter."

If you'd like to support Sophia, there is a benefit in her honor from 1-4 p.m., Nov. 16, at Dale's Weston Lanes- Mountain Bay Banquet and Conference Center. (Address: 5902 Schofield Avenue, Weston, WI, 54476)

All money raised will be donated to the VanErmen family to support them and their escalating medical bills.

There is an optional $5 entrance donation fee.
Snacks will be provided from 1-2:30 p.m.

There also will be a raffle, children's activities, games, music and prizes.

For more information, contact the benefit host: Kiara Black 715-383-2203


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