When Abdullah Farid of Hamden was a bright, rambunctious toddler, he was diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, a condition marked by high levels of "bad" cholesterol beginning at birth.
Abdullah already had cholesterol deposits on his arteries and visible deposits on his skin. After a test put his cholesterol level at 1,300, doctors said he was headed for a heart attack before the age of 10. Powerful cholesterol lowering drugs did not work and caused severe side effects.
"You are not able to breathe fully; you just take little breaths while you are dealing with something like this," said his father, Farrukh Farid, a co-owner of the Wallingford-based company, Edible Arrangements. After searching the Internet for answers, and traveling to hospitals in several states to talk to doctors, he was surprised to find that Dr. Mistry at YNHH had treated nine children in the United Kingdom with the same condition as his son. Two had been treated with transplants, and one of those had later married and had children. Farid considered LDL (low-density lipoprotein) apheresis treatment for his son at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and also visited homeopathic and herbal specialists in Dubai and Southeast Asia, but he believed that a liver transplant was the best solution. The Farids expected to wait at least a year for a liver donation. Farrukh was surprised three months later when the phone rang while he was home playing with his son.
"When I got the call, time stood still for me. My wife saw my face and she knew what it was. It was like the floor had dropped out," he said. Abdullah had his transplant on March 20, 2008 and is now running around like any normal little boy. His cholesterol is now 170, and the cholesterol deposits on the skin are melting away.