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11th October 2023 Latest News

Surgery a life-changer for teen

Sebastian Weetra resized cropped

Two years ago, Sebastian Weetra was taking strong pain killers three to five times a week for hereditary pancreatitis – a condition that his father Christian and grandfather suffered from.

But after a Pancreatectomy and Islet Auto Transplant (P-IAT) procedure in mid 2022, the 19-year-old is now pain free and living his best life.

Pancreatitis begins at an early age and is a condition where inflammation of the pancreas takes place, causing severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Up to 60 per cent of people with hereditary pancreatitis will ultimately require P-IAT.

This procedure removes the pancreas and reimplants the insulin producing islet cells, isolated from the removed pancreas, back into the patient’s liver enabling them to be pain free.

Thanks to your donations, pancreatitis research has progressed to enable people with this condition to live their best life.

Sebastian is enjoying attending university without missing days, living independently, enjoying being a young adult and not taking painkillers.

“Not having any pain after recovery was honestly really weird to get used to,” he said.

“It was strange to feel, for lack of a better term, ‘normal’ after so long.

“Once I felt better and was off painkillers, I was able to become much more productive at university and in my daily life.”

Sebastian is full of gratitude for the care he received before and after the operation.

“I would like to thank the medical people behind my operation, for helping to organise the operation and playing such a large role in the drastic improving of my day-to-day life and keeping me comfortable throughout the surgery,” Sebastian said.

“Thank you!”

Mum Merle said the positive impact of Sebastian’s recovery on the family, after years of pain is “phenomenal” and they are grateful for the assurance and research behind this medical condition.

“It was hard to sit at his bedside and watch him in pain,” she said.

“Now to see him do all the everyday things that 19-year-olds do, is amazing.

“Professor Toby Coates was just a breath of fresh air, and he knew he was able to help Seb. The medical team gave a lot of reassurance about the operation.

Even now Toby will text Seb to check on him.”

You can help people like Sebastian live a pain free life by donating to Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia, which supports this life-changing procedure in Adelaide.