Alonzo Mourning (who will be featured here later this month!) knows what it's like to fight for his life and now he's hoping to help a 3-year-old boy do the same. Please read below and do what you can to spread the word...thanks. In this holiday season, a gift of life is the best gift of all.
Zo's Fund For Life Urges the Public to Join Campaign to "Give Omar Life"
Alonzo Mourning, NBA All-Star and Founder of Zo's Fund For Life, an organization Mourning launched shortly after he learned he would need an organ transplant announced that he is leading a campaign to quickly raise funds for a three-year-old boy named Omar Ferguson who is in desperate need of a liver transplant. The announcement was made during a news conference at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center campus in Miami.
Little Omar lies in a hospital bed this holiday season at the Holtz Children's Hospital at UM/Jackson. He has been diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare condition he acquired as a newborn in which the common bile duct between the liver and small intestine is blocked or absent. Most patients with this diagnosis will undergo a procedure as infants to remove the atretic biliary ducts outside the liver and attach the small intestine directly to the liver at the spot where bile is found or expected to drain in an effort to re-establish bile flow. If this procedure is done before two months of age, success is likely.
Omar was not fortunate enough to have received this procedure as an infant and as a result the blocked bile flow has caused severe liver cirrhosis which has led to liver failure. He is in end-stage cirrhosis experiencing complications including life-threatening intestinal bleeding, fluid retention in the abdomen (ascites), and abnormal blood ammonia levels which, if left untreated, can result in coma. The only effective treatment option for Omar to survive is a liver transplant.
Omar is without health insurance, so the only way for him to be placed on the transplant waiting list is when the total cost of the liver transplant, including physician and facility fees, of $300,000 is raised and paid to the hospital. Due to the severity of Omar's illness, he will be given priority once he is placed on the transplant waiting list. Liver transplant survival rates are excellent with over 90% survival in the first year and patients can move on to leading normal lives.
Zo's Fund for Life recognizes the importance of giving Omar the chance to live and is donating $50,000 towards his transplant. "Omar is a true fighter as most kids with this disease don't live past the age of two," said Mourning who is also a spokesperson for the Miami Transplant Institute at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and serves on the Institutes advisory board. "Omar deserves a chance at life and with your help we can give him the gift of transplant that keeps on giving this holiday season."
"The child is in Holtz Children's Hospital and his condition is critical. He needs to have a liver transplant before he has more complications from his liver disease which could further compromise his outlook," said Andreas G. Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Liver/GI Transplant Surgery, Director of the Miami Transplant Institute, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami Transplant Institute. "We are very thankful to Alonzo for his commitment to transplantation and help to the needy. His help could not have come at a better time."
In the spirit and season of giving, Mourning is urging the public to help save Omar's life and donate as much and as soon as possible. Show gratitude for your good fortune and give to those who are less fortunate, like Omar, because you can truly make a difference in his life today by donating to Zo's Fund for Life's "Give Omar Life" fund. Donations are tax-deductible and accepted by:
· Debit or credit card via PayPal at www.ZosFundForLife.org/Omar or by calling 1-888-520-ZFFL (9335) or email Amanda@ZosFundForLife.org.
· Mail a check payable to Zo's Fund For Life (reference: Omar) at Zo's Fund for Life, PO Box 330110, Miami, FL 33233.
· Drop off cash or overnight/courier a check to Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc., c/o Zo's Fund For Life, 2901 Florida Avenue, Suite 806, Coconut Grove, Florida 33133.
· Wire transfer to Zo's Fund for Life, Regions Bank, 2800 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL, Account #: 9660220568, ABA/Routing #: 062000019.
For more information, visit www.ZosFundForLife.org, call 1-888-520-ZFFL (9335), or email Amanda@ZosFundForLife.org.