Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


November 5, 2013

California teen grateful for second chance at life


Having first-hand knowledge about the cost of a liver transplant and having already experienced the medical costs associated with keeping Marissa alive, John and Hong turned to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) for help and guidance. Almost immediately, a team of friends and family members got to work organizing COTA fundraisers in honor of Marissa.

“COTA has reduced any stress regarding the financial aspects of this journey and this has given us hope. It means the world to us that COTA has a team of wonderful professionals who help so many during a very difficult time in a family’s life. We are very grateful,” said Hong and John.

At nearly the same time the COTA team started raising funds for transplant-related expenses, family members started being tested for compatibility to be Marissa’s living donor. A match was found and on Jan. 19, 2012, Marissa received a portion of her aunt’s liver, and a second chance at life.

Following the transplant, Marissa experienced complications with a bile leakage and a flow problem in her main hepatic artery. At one point, her transplant surgeons thought, due to the artery complication, Marissa would require another transplant. Devastated at the news, the family tried to remain hopeful. One week later they were told the situation was surgically repairable and Marissa would not need a second transplant. In March 2012, Marissa went home and started the long process of recovery and healing.

John and Hong are filled with gratitude for two transplants, and for the scores of people who have helped make sure they have been able to keep two kids alive without being financially devastated.

According to them, “Post-transplant we were told Marissa would likely need a second transplant, which caused us great worry. But her body has been able to heal itself with no further surgery currently on the horizon. A true miracle and again, we are so thankful.”

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