Carcoss family awaits liver transplant for young son

Baby Emmett Smith from Carcross, Yukon, is smiling and happy as he awaits a liver transplant in Edmonton, says his mom, Charlotte Francis.

Baby Emmett Smith from Carcross, Yukon, is smiling and happy as he awaits a liver transplant in Edmonton, says his mom, Charlotte Francis.

Now nearly five months old, Emmett has been diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. He’s been through his fourth cycle of chemotherapy, and will start his fifth on Friday.

“He’s doing really good right now,” Francis said this week, on the phone from an Edmonton hotel room.

“He’s happy, smiling all the time. I’m slowly getting laughs out of him, little giggles. He likes when people talk to him.”

Over the past three months, Yukoners have fundraised more than $10,000 to support the family, which includes three other children.

That money helps with expenses at home, and allows for Emmett’s father, Michael Smith, to visit his son in hospital.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody who has helped, and who are sending their prayers to Emmett,” said Francis.

The plan is for Emmett to receive a liver transplant, but he needs to gain some weight first.

Currently he’s 5.7 kilograms, and he needs to get up to 7, said Francis.

“He’s underweight for it. They want him to get bigger so his blood vessels and everything will be easier to work with.”

He’s fed continuously through a feeding tube, about 30 calories an hour.

And it’s working – he’s really getting heavier, she said.

“The other day I was carrying him and he put my back right in a kink. I was walking around like an old grandma.”

Francis hopes that she will be the one to give her son a piece of her liver.

“I want it to be me. If it can be me, that would be totally awesome. That way nobody else has to go through all this stuff. I’m already here with him, so it just makes it that much easier.”

Francis is having tests done to see if she’s a good match.

“They test everything on me, to see if I’m good – to see if my anatomy is good for him,” she said.

“They only take a small little portion of it, of mine, and give it to him. But mine will eventually grow back. Within a year it will grow back.”

So far, Emmett has been doing really well with all the treatments and tests.

He was well enough this week to be discharged from hospital as he waits for his next round of chemo.

Francis is grateful for all the support she has gotten from friends, family and strangers, she said.

She was recently approached by someone in Walmart who asked about Emmett’s feeding tube.

“I was honest with her. I told her he has cancer, and he’s here for a liver transplant. She’s like, ‘Write his name down, so we can add him to the prayer circle.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’

“She just stopped us and just said a little prayer with him, and he just smiled at her.

“I’m like, OK, thank you random weird person,” Francis said, laughing.

“That was cool, how she did that.”

Donations to the family can be made at

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at