- Posted February 17, 2013 by
Somerdale, New Jersey
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4 Year Old Needs One Heart, Two Lungs and One Home
Riley O'Brien has fought for life since before he was born. When his Mom Carol went for a prenatal checkup at 22 weeks. She was told there was a problem. The baby boy she was carrying had Heterotaxy Syndrome and Congenital heart disease. The doctor's informed the O'Brien's that a baby with this type of diagnosis had a 50% survival rate.
Riley was born with a fighting spirit. For the last four years this little body fights to stay alive. His veins are growing weaker. His body is having more and more health issues.
His family struggles financially with only one parent able to work. Mom has to stay home to take care of Riley. Last year, Gov. Christie decided to change the NJ school's insurance to a carrier in NJ. Now, the family has a co-pay for medical expenses. The financial burden has become more challenging. .
In 2009, Riley officially was added to the national organ donor wait list. That gave the family great hope. Three times during 2011, he came close to having the gifts of life that he so desperately needs.Two occasions, he was prepped and ready for surgery. Unfortunately,both times the organs were not acceptable. This was crushing to the family.
Under the care of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Riley has endured 26 heart cath procedures to help him live. His little body is growing weaker. He is starting to have new problems that the doctor's are trying to determine the nature. Riley lives with the help of an Oxygen tank around the clock. He is not able to go to preschool and play with kids like all healthy children do. He fights to live everyday. His need for one heart and two lungs is very rare. Currently, there are only three children in the United States who need one heart and two lungs.
Riley, his 12 year old brother and his parents need a new home. They are currently living in an old doctor's office in Somerdale, NJ. Their home is only 700 square feet and needs many repairs. When Riley does receive his gifts of life, he will not be able to return to this house. The O'Brien's can not afford to buy a new home.
Fortunately, they have had some angels come into their life. One is a writer and artist, Shawn Van Daele from Ontario, Canada. He learned of Riley and drove down to meet him. He returned to Canada and started an Indiegogo campaign to help the family.
A few weeks ago, a publicist in NY city came across a tweet asking for help and connected with Carol O'Brien immediately. Shortly thereafter, Supermodel Emily Sandberg offered to help bring attention to their struggle. She made a heartfelt video that was published by Sandberg on Valentine's day asking American's to help in the effort to raise the much needed funds for a new home and bring awareness for organ donation. Sandberg has offered her time to meet with some of the generous donors in New York city.
Organ donations are needed by many children and adults around the world. The need is real. As of today-- 117,167 people are waiting for an organ. 18 people will die each day waiting for an organ. Riley is among those waiting. He needs three miracles including one heart, two lungs and a healthy home.
To sign up as an organ donor visit http://organdonor.gov/ or visit your local Department of Motor vehicles.