Susie and Reggie Quiambao are high school sweethearts who met when Susie was a freshman and Reggie a senior. They worked at the same company, both doing workers compensation for years. They took their breaks and ate lunch together every day. The two have been together for more than half their lives and are each other’s best friends.
Reed was born, and then Reilly was born three years later. Susie found out she was pregnant with Ridge the same day they learned that due to the economy, they would be losing their home. Susie knew they would get through it as long as they were together as a family.
Just before their third son Ridge was born, the doctor noticed there was extra fluid in his kidneys. Ridge was born jaundiced but since Reilly was also jaundiced at birth, the doctors were not worried. Two months later, Ridge’s eyes started to turn yellow. His stomach became hard and his body became bloated. His liver was obstructed and his bile was being stored inside. He needed the seven hour Kasai surgery, a procedure with an 80% success rate if performed before 2 months of age, and a 15-20% success rate after 3 months. At three months and one day old, Ridge had the surgery.
After surgery, a biopsy of his liver showed extreme scarring and his spleen was enlarged. He became very bloated and had to be airlifted from Kaiser San Diego to Kaiser Los Angeles. Ridge was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant.
Reggie was unable to leave his job and keeping the family together became a challenge. Reed and Reilly stayed with various family members for some time and Susie made monthly day trips to Los Angeles for blood tests after the surgery.
One year later, Reggie’s brother was cleared to be a liver donor for his young nephew. This time, the whole family came to Los Angeles and they all stayed at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, helping the family stay together during this difficult time in their lives. During the recuperation period, Susie’s sister from Hemet came to help out on the weekdays, while Reggie and the kids returned home and came up every weekend.
For information on how you can help the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House provide families of critically ill children with lodging and support programs, please call us at 323-644-3000.