Thanks to the generosity of a complete stranger, Montana Lockett can now eat and play like any other six-year-old.
The Picton girl was born with Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency, a rare metabolic condition which forced her to adhere to a strict diet.
Montana’s parents Sarah and Cameron put their daughter on the liver transplant list after her condition deteriorated last year.
After several months on the transplant waitlist, Montana received a donated organ and is now living a healthy and happy life.
“The transplant has been life changing for us,” Mrs Lockett said.
“Now Montana can eat what ever she wants. We actually have to tell her to slow down. Montana is also excited about going back to school next week.
“We are so grateful to the complete stranger who donated the organ and it has made me realise that organ donation is so important.”
Before the transplant, Montana’s life was gruelling.
Her body could not break down protein which means ammonia builds up. High levels of ammonia means the brain can swell which can cause brain damage or death. The condition is usually managed with diet and medication.
Mrs Lockett said Montana was only allowed to eat a set amount of protein.
“Montana basically lived on fruit and vegetables,” she said.
“She had a really bad winter last year and she collapsed, couldn’t walk or talk.
“So as a last resort we put her on the transplant list.”
Montana also had to be fed through a tube in her stomach because she couldn’t eat and was getting sick.
“Montana was on a full liquid diet and she relied on the tube to be feed four times a day every two hours,” Mrs Lockett said.
Mrs Lockett said it was incredibly hard to watch her daughter be so sick.
“It was heartbreaking to see her run around with our other daughter and have to carry a portable machine,” she said.
“Montana would have episodes when ammonia built up and she wouldn’t know who she was or who we were,” Mrs Lockett said.
“I would pray that she would wake up each morning.
“She also missed a lot of school and other students asked her about the feeding tube.
“It was hard because as her mum all I wanted to do was trade places with her but I couldn’t. Now she is free to be a normal six-year-old.”
Ms Lockett wanted to thank the people who donated to the family to help pay for Montana’s medical costs.
She also encouraged people to have a conversation with their loved ones about organ donation and to make their wishes known.
“It is so sad to think about the horrible time the donor’s family must be going through but the donor saved our little girl,” Mrs Lockett said.