Braydon Smith, 4, is "100-percent boy" according to his mother Niccole Smith, playing and wrestling with his younger brother.
That's why it seemed exceptionally strange when Braydon began laying around and became quiet; his eyes started turning yellow. Niccole and her husband Antony Smith took him to the doctor: Braydon had sudden liver failure.
"It was out of nowhere. You've got a perfectly healthy four-year-old and just out of nowhere his liver starts to fail," says Niccole,
Doctors at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital say they believe a virus killed Braydon's liver.
"By the time he got to us he had already started becoming confused and his liver failed to the point that he was in a coma and he probably had about 24 hours to live," says Dr. James Eason, Medical Director of Methodist and Le Bonheur's Transplant Institute.
Miraculously, the morning after Braydon was admitted to Le Bonheur, he received a liver donation and immediately went to surgery for his transplant.
"Through the support of Le Bonheur and the University of Tennessee, we've assembled a great team that can take someone like Braydon on the brink of death, and with the help of God and everyone else can bring him and restore his life," says Eason, "From the time before his transplant to the operation and our operating room team and the care he received after the transplant, everybody working together was able to save his life."
The transplant was not easy for Braydon to understand at first, according to his mother. Le Bonheur and the FedEx Family House's staff helped turn Braydon's frown upside down.
"Braydon talked to me about two to three days after his surgery. He told me, ‘Mama,' he said, ‘I don't like my new belly. I want my old belly back,'" says Niccole, "There was a security guard here at the FedEx House that Braydon showed, and he looked at Braydon and smiled and said, ‘I really like your smiley face. I want one just like it.'"
"It's my smiley face," says Braydon about the transplant scar on his stomach, "They're boo boos. That means this is a smiley face. They just changed my stomach to this one. It feels good."
It was a literal smile that helped the Smiths cope with the transplant struggles. They live five hours away from Le Bonheur; the Smiths stayed at Le Bonheur's FedEx Family House during Braydon's stay at the hospital.
"We not call this our home away from home. Very comfortable when you come in; everybody's smiling at you and it just makes it a lot easier to cope with everything that's going on around you," says Niccole.
Read more stories about miracles at Le Bonheur, Memphis' Children's Miracle Network Hospital (CMNH), on FOX 13's CMN page.
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