Monday, May 23, 2005

A Wonderful Tale From Long Island Liver Walk...

Folks - Thanks to Heide, webmistress supreme, for sending along from today's Newsday this wonderful tale from Sunday's Long Island Liver Walk, the first of three New York area fundraisers for liver disesase research.

As posted here, I'll be participating in the New York City Liver Walk on Sunday
June 5 at Riverside Park and in the New Jersey Liver Walk in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, on Sunday June 12.

Contributions to my fundraising effort can be made on-line at this address:

I'm proud to say that with a whopping $325 in donations in just the past two days we're now at $1,875 or 63% of my $3,000 target. Thanks to all who have contributed and a special thanks to those who forwarded our donation link to others. Please continue to spread the word.

As if we needed any further incentive to help the cause, consider this inspiring story...

Father gives son new hope

May 23, 2005

Toddler Jack Morea has his father's brown eyes, his ears and chin.
After an operation as an infant to stop the boy's organs from failing, the
2-year- old of Massapequa also has a piece of his dad's liver.

"I wasn't thinking about the surgery and being on the table," Jack's
father, Dominic "Dom" Morea, said of the liver transplant performed at
Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. "You go into a place where
you want to just help your kid."

Morea and his wife, Michelle, and their three children, including Jack,
were among more than 400 supporters who gathered yesterday at
Eisenhower Park for the 2005 Liver Walk sponsored by the American Liver
Foundation's New York chapter. The three-mile walk raised donations for liver
disease research and awareness.

Kicking rocks on a soggy field at the East Meadow park, Jack ignored
instructions to play near his parents. The rosy-cheeked youngster looks
nothing like he did at 5 weeks old. Then, he was scrawny, with yellow
skin and eyes.

"He was abnormally jaundiced," Michelle Morea said. "When it got to the
point that we knew what it was, he was glowing."

Jack suffered from biliary atresia, which kept him from properly
ridding bile from his liver. The disease, for which the cause is unknown,
affects only newborns and occurs in about one in every 15,000 births
annually. The malady can cause scar tissue and ultimately liver failure and

After surgery failed for Jack, the family prepared for a living organ
transplant. His father was deemed a suitable donor in part because he
shared the same Type O blood as Jack.

On April 8, 2003, doctors removed a third of Dominic Morea's liver and
placed it in Jack, then 8 months old.

"It felt like I was socked in the stomach," Michelle Morea said,
recalling that day. "The doctors took my husband one way and my baby the
other, but I believed what we were doing was good and I was at peace."

Dominic Morea's surgery lasted about two hours. Doctors then spent
eight hours operating on Jack. The procedure was one of 510 performed in
New York that year, according to Richmond, Va.-based United Network for
Organ Sharing.

Months after the surgery, Jack grew stronger. He now spends most of his
time playing T-ball and riding his tricycle outside the family's home.

With a new liver, Jack no longer has to take 21 doses of various
medications every day. Instead, he uses only one prescription - which he'll
need to take for life - to help his body fight against rejecting the
liver, Michelle Morea said.

Dominic Morea, who has fully recovered from the surgery, said he
couldn't have wished for a better situation. "The blessing for us is that we
didn't have to put him on a list and wait," he added.

At the park, Jack played with his brother, Carlo, 5, and sister, Catie,
7, as everyone approached the starting line. Jack pouted when he was
told he would have to ride in a stroller for most of the walk.

"He's the most mischievous of my three kids," Michelle Morea said.

Copyright (c) 2005, Newsday, Inc.


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