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Indianapolis couple gets second chance to parent after organ donation saves their son

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Posted at 8:46 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 20:46:26-04

Indianapolis — A life saving decision that means the world to families everywhere.

The choice to donate life.

For the eighth consecutive year, more Hoosiers have signed up to be donors, which means a record number of organs were transplanted last year.

For one Indianapolis family, it was one person's decision that gave them a chance to raise their son.

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"This year will be completely different. We wont have to be like, 'When will we get that call?'" Lexi Browning said.

Browning, a young first time mom, says she was ecstatic to bring her son into the world.

She and her husband were overjoyed to become parents.

But that joy quickly turned into fear for the Browning's when Breyman, their son, was diagnosed with biliary atresia.

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Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that often leads to liver failure.

Nearly 50% of children under 2-years-old diagnosed with it need a transplant to survive.

That was the case for Breyman, too.

"I went into shock," Lexi said.

Breyman's family says he declined quickly. They say doctors had to perform CPR for 14 minutes to resuscitate him.

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"They rushed us out of the room when he stopped breathing, I wasn't prepared for what I saw walking into the room. He had dried blood in his hair and on his nose," Lexi said.

Luckily, Breyman survived.

"It was the hardest thing, You can't even imagine. I wouldn't want anyone to go through it. It was just a shock at first," Lexi said.

But that meant he would move to the top of the transplant list.

Lexi was a match and was prepared to become a living donor for her son.

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Just a day or so before her surgery, the nurse came into the room with a phone call for her.

"It was the day of the AT&T outage. They were trying to call us and couldn't get through. She said, 'I don't know if they've told you yet but we have a liver' and I was like stop it and I just broke down," Lexi said.

Breyman's surgery was a success.

Immediately, his color starting coming back from the jaundice caused by his liver failure.

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"It's so awesome to see the things he can do now," Lexi said.

Not long after surgery, Breyman learned to walk, he is eating and gaining weight like the doctors want him to.

It's the main reason his family says they're now fighting for people to register to become a donor.

"What's the hurt in it? The only thing you can do is save other lives," Lexi said.

In 2023, Indiana University Health, which includes Riley, reports it transplanted a record 189 livers.

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To be an organ donor, you can declare your intentions on your driver's license.

You can also go to the Donate Life America website and sign up.

To learn more about being a living donor, click here.