WAKEFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - Sunday marked national day of awareness for a rare and complicated disease affecting newborn babies.

And one Massachusetts family says they’re grateful their child was able to recover, thanks to the medical care they received here in Boston.

Liam Shanahan had a rough go of it when he was born 16 months ago. His mom, Katie, was diagnosed with red cell Alloimmunixation and Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn, or HDFN. It’s a rare condition where women develop antibodies against their baby’s blood type, and those antbodies attack their unborn baby’s red blood cells.

“It was probably the worst time of our lives,” said Katie Shanahan “Which was so hard because it’s also supposed to be the best time of your life.”

Little Liam had to undergo four blood transfusions before he was born and another four after. De. Kenneth Moise is an expect in the disease.

“If that baby is the wrong blood type, different from the mother, those can cross through the placenta attach to the blood cells, and cause them to break down and the baby can become anemic,” he said.

Thanks to the care he received at Mass. General in Boston, he was released at three months old.

And now Katie is spreading the word.

“I really want women to know its important to know their blood type, to ask for a first trimester antibody screen and make sure they know if they have antibodies going into a pregnancy,” she said.

For more information about the Allo Hope Foundation and how to donate, Click Here.

For more information about how to be a donor Click Here.

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