“Miracle Baby” Survives Both COVID And A Liver Transplant, Lives To Celebrate First Birthday

One-year-old Kasen Donerlson has been defying odds since being born in January 2020.

When Donerlson appeared underweighted and jaundiced, his mother took the infant to the doctor. At just three-months-old, Donerlson was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a condition that causes bile to remain in the liver and cause cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. It is a condition that only affects infants.

Screenshot GoFundMe

The child underwent surgery to fix the problem and it was unsuccessful, meaning that Kasen required a liver transplant to survive. While Donerlson was placed on an organ waiting list, his condition deteriorated.

In November, the baby contracted a fever and was later diagnosed with the coronavirus. With the diagnosis, Donerlson’s transplant eligibility was pushed out for a month and his mother feared that her son would miss out on the opportunity for a new liver.


“His whole body felt like it was on fire from head to toe. Being completely honest, I immediately thought of death. He was already fighting for his life, and then he gets COVID. My heart just dropped.”

Mitayah Donerlson, via Blavity

However, just shortly before his first birthday, Kasen beat COVID. His recovery allowed him to undergo an intensive nine-surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on January 3rd. His mother, Mitayah Donerlson of Syracuse, New York, understandably calls Kasen her “miracle baby.”


The surgery was a success, according to Kasen no longer has jaundice and his body has seemed to have approved of his new liver.

“There’s no sign of rejection. Now we just take it one day at a time. Although he remains in the hospital for monitoring, he’s playful and energetic.”

Mitayah Donerlson, via Blavity

Mitayah Donerlson is currently renting an apartment in Pittsburgh as her son recovers. The GoFundMe campaign to help the family with medical expenses has surpassed it’s $30,000 goal, and Donerlson can’t help but feel relieved and grateful. 

“I am HONORED to be your mother. Thank you for being my instructor. You’re my instructor to lessons that I could only learn from you.”

Mitayah Donerlson, via Blavity

Donerlson was able to celebrate his first birthday, complete with cake and balloons, and you love to see it.


Written by Abigale Racine