17:00 GMT22 February 2020
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    The story of Alejandro Benítez, an Argentine football player, has gone viral globally for being an example of dedication, courage and love: he abandoned his sports career and suspended his work to undergo an operation and give part of his liver to his nine-month-old nephew whose life was at stake.

    Alejandro Benítez, 30, lives in Larroque, a small town in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. He was a defender for Central Larroque, a local football club that plays in Série C tournaments. Despite his talent, it was not his soccer skills that made him famous across the globe, but his selfless gesture that few people would do. He donated part of his liver to his baby nephew Milo, which is why he had to leave the field and temporarily suspend his other work.

    This heart-pounding story began when Milo was diagnosed a month after his birth with an obstruction of ducts that connect the gallbladder with the liver. He had undergone a surgery but it didn't help solve this problem, and the child's liver failed in two months.

    "The only salvation we had was a liver transplant from a dead or living donor," Benítez, who is still recovering after the surgery, told Sputnik Spanish.

    The clock was ticking, so the family started looking for a potential donor for liver transplantation. The boy's mother could not undergo the operation due to a health condition, and his father wasn't a suitable donor either because of his differing blood type. That is when the uncle appeared to sacrifice everything for the life of the child.

    "I didn't hesitate even for a second; the baby was already exhausted and green, with a very swollen belly. His surgery had to be done before he turned nine months," said the Argentine hero.

    At that time, Benítez fully active with Central Larroque and his other work at a meat-processing plant. The decision to leave sports and take a two-month break from the other job was met with understanding and sympathy.

    "Milo is well now, accommodated near the hospital. He is discharged but is controlled every other day because his immune defense was lowered a lot so that his body doesn't reject the organ. He is practically like a normal baby," said the baby's uncle.

    Local sports media learned of the case and made a report, which gave national and then worldwide visibility to this exciting story. Benítez expressed his hope that this story would serve to make people aware of organ donation and of the fact that even a part of an organ can save somebody's life.


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    surgery, baby, transplant, Argentina
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