'It’s very overwhelming': Family awaiting organ donor glad for community support

The family of a teen awaiting a liver transplant has been receiving a lot of love from the community of Lethbridge and beyond.

Erin Hamilton has a urea cycle disorder, her liver is missing an enzyme and is unable to digest protein, according to her mom. She was diagnosed with the rare condition when she was three years old.

Due to the condition, Erin is on a strict medication and eating schedule.

“It takes us probably at least a half an hour, an hour a day, for all the medical treatments we have to do with Erin,” said Melanie Hamilton, Erin’s mom. “So if you do that every day, for 365 days a year, it's quite a commitment."

In 2020, Erin was spending more time in the hospital, so doctors recommended a liver transplant.

“Once she has the liver transplant, the disorder goes away and she'll be able to live a more normal life,” said Hamilton. “Which is what we want for our children, and particularly for our child who's fourteen and a half and wants to be just a plain old teenager."

Erin is waiting for a transplant at the Alberta Children’s Hospital while her mom stays at the nearby Ronald McDonald House.

In order to help with the costs, a friend started a fundraiser.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Karla Wolsky, the friend who started the fundraiser.

“People have contacted Mel that she hasn't, you know, been in contact with for quite a while, that they've seen the GoFundMe and just to contact her and offer support which has, I think, meant more than anything to her."

The original goal was $2,500, but it has reached nearly $14,000.

"It's very overwhelming to feel the support that we have amongst Lethbridge and strangers, people that don't even know us and would be able to comment back," said Hamilton.

The family doesn’t have a timeline on when Erin will be able to receive a transplant.

With files from CTV News Calgary’s Sean Marks