BILLINGS, Mont. - A Laurel man is recovering in a Colorado hospital after he donated part of his liver to his 10-month-old nephew.
Ten-month-old Madden Hartse was born with a rare liver disease, Bilary Atresia. His parents said they tried a procedure to help their son, but quickly realized he would need a transplant.
Madden's uncle, Dustin Hartse, volunteered and was a match. The transplant took place on Feb. 17 at a hospital in Colorado. Madden's mother, Kylie Hartse, said it was a 10 hour surgery for Madden.
"Dusty was the hero for our family for sure," said Madden's father, Derrick Hartse. "I was nervous for my brother, but relieved at the same time because it's someone I know very, very well. He's always kind of stepped up and taken care of his family and our family whenever he can. I know how tough he is and I know how determined he is."
Dustin Hartse said he should be released from the hospital this week, but his recovery will take several weeks.
"I'm getting better," said Hartse. "I'm feeling pretty good today. Yesterday was rough, but today is better."
Hartse added, "It's a hard thing to go through, but definitely worth it seeing Madden already looking as good as he does, you know."
Madden's parents said they are also grateful for the medical staff, family, friends and people they didn't know who stepped up to help.
"Billings is an amazing community," said Madden's mother, Kylie Hartse.