Ten-year-old’s transplanted organs failing
by BETH ALTENA
Lily Evans would love to ride a horse, stay in a cabin with her family, have a girl party with friends and see a movie in a theater. According to her doctors, she has just six months to one year to do any of these things.
Lillian Josephine Evans was born in 2002 and diagnosed early with conditions that made her survival dependent upon a donor for a heart and double lung transplant. According to family friend Christine Leasher, Lily received the transplant five or six years ago and has been struggling with rejection ever since.
“She struggled with degrees of rejection but it was controllable,” said Leasher.
Now, at age 10, Lily suffers from damaged kidneys, and doctors have given her six months to one year to live.
“She has a bucket list of things she would like to do,” said Leasher.
As a fundraiser for the bucket list, friends of Lily will hold a lemonade sale at Ric’s Food Center, 6969 Belding Road, Saturday, August 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to Leasher, her family is hoping to raise money for Lily’s wish list of things she would like to do.
“They would love to get a cabin on Lake Michigan and have a family vacation together,” Leasher said, listing some of Lily’s hoped-for events to experience. She said one of Lily’s wishes, a dog that she can actually hold and pet, has come to be in the form of a hypoallergenic Bichon Frisé.
Lily’s mom, Sue Evans, said her daughter is under Hospice care already. “This will probably be her last regular summer, so we’d like to be able to do everything she wants to do. We are hoping for a little more time to be with her, to enjoy her.”
Leasher said there is a post office box for donations or correspondence, since the family experienced unexpected visits of well-wishers to their home in the past, which isn’t good for Lily’s frail condition. She has to be extremely careful of exposure to germs and other things that might make her sick.
“One of the things she wanted to do is have a girls party out, getting pampered with her friends and be a princess for a day. K&K Nails is helping with that, having the girls in after-hours so other customers can’t come in the door while they are there.”
Another of Lily’s dreams is something that is such a common American night out that the request starkly spells how Lily’s condition has affected her experiences. She would like to see a movie in a theater.
“We have been talking with theaters to see if there is some way we can rent a smaller one so Lily and friends can go.”
Sue said she felt it was important to let the community know about Lily’s story now since people knew what Lily was facing since she was an infant. She said she and the family will always be grateful for all the prayers and hopes sent Lily’s way. Sue said the help they have received has been so welcome. She noted the love and kindness of members of their church, Crossroads, and the meals they provided as well as prayers.
Leasher said doctors were always doubtful of Lily’s long-term chances and said she only had a less-than-one percent chance of surviving the actual transplant of heart and both lungs. Further transplants to replace her dying organs is out of the question medically.
Stop by Ric’s Food Center to buy lemonade for Lily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, or mail donations to PO Box 2915, Grand Rapids, MI 49501. Donations that can be used toward travel expenses can be made online at: http://cota.donorpages.com/PatientOnlineDonation/COTAforLillianE/.