LIVEr Champion

2019 New Jersey LIVEr Champion

Claudia

Claudia Veronica Fiore was born one minute after her twin brother Leonardo Michael on July 24, 2009 and four years after her older sister Sophia Frances. Shortly after coming home from the hospital, we realized that something was wrong when Leo was growing and Claudia was not.

After numerous trips to the hospital and various scans and tests, a biopsy confirmed Claudia’s diagnosis of Biliary Atresia. Shortly after, at just 9 weeks old, Claudia received a successful surgical Kasai. The little yellow baby girl showed the world for the first time what a fighter she was as she began to thrive and gain weight, catching up to her twin brother.

Anyone who met Claudia never knew the struggles with pain and anxiety that she was enduring caused by liver disease. She was strong, brave, smart, kind, caring, happy, loving and funny! Her spirit was wise and generous beyond her physical years. Claudia always wanted to help others – whether it was residents at the hospital, sharing her experiences at an American Liver Foundation Education Day or joining the Liver Life Walk to raise awareness and money.

Eventually, although in seemingly good health in outward appearance, Claudia’s liver had become too scarred and her enlarged spleen began to take a toll on her health. In December 2017, Claudia was placed on the transplant list and on July 3, 2018 we received “the call” from Dr. Ovchinsky.

The transplant at Montefiore was a huge success and her fighting spirit had Claudia off pain medication and walking in record time. In one short week, she was home, watching Disney movies and recovering with her family. A few days later, Claudia took a sudden unexpected turn for the worse and on July 16, just a week before her 9th birthday, Claudia’s fight with liver disease came to an abrupt end.

That day, when our hearts were shattered, was the worst day of our lives. Claudia’s spirit, however, is so strong and remains a driving force for generosity and love. We are determined to work through the pain, as Claudia did every day, and so many who struggle with liver disease still do, to continue Claudia’s mission to help others.

Please join us on June 9th at the NJ Liver Life Walk. Every dollar that we raise at this year’s Liver Life Walk will support the American Liver Foundation’s mission to provide educational programs and patient services to the millions of Americans battling liver disease.

While it is a day to raise money and awareness, it also is a day to honor loved ones and have fun in celebrating successes and milestones. Please encourage your family, friends and co-workers to register for the walk alongside you. We will continue the fight against liver disease in our daughter Claudia’s honor, as she would want us all to do. We look forward to meeting you and walking together, united in a common goal to cure liver disease.

By Joe & Dawn Fiore, Liver Champion’s Parents

2019 National LIVEr Champion

Manny

In 2010, Manny was only two and a half months old when he was diagnosed with biliary atresia (BA). Very soon after he was diagnosed, he had his first surgery called the Kasai procedure. His first years of life were tough as he was frequently having to get flown to the hospital. It seemed like something was always wrong, and things were not getting easier for him.

The year of 2017 was a tough one; he was in and out of the hospital and eventually his doctor gave us the news that he needed a new liver. Even though I knew the day would come, it really hit me. We were very scared and felt helpless. On January 2, 2018, we had another trip to our local emergency room, resulting in another flight and hospitalization. By January 16th, we received the news that Manny was on the transplant list.

Two weeks after being added to the transplant list, I received the call that would change our lives. I could hardly believe that an altruistic donor had come forward. We were shocked that a stranger was willing to donate a piece of his liver to help save Manny’s life.  While we were in the hospital waiting for his recovery, we sent the donor a thank you card. We will always be extremely thankful for what he did. We received a letter back, and in it was the donor’s phone number. We finally got to meet and were able to express our gratitude.

By Karina Estrada, Liver Champion’s mom


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