Liver transplant links Philly girl to Bobby Rydell | Helen Unibas

Assiah Phinisee shares a liver with her pal Bobby Rydell. JOHN AQUINO / Thomas Jefferson University

THIS IS ABOUT Bobby Rydell and a little girl, and the liver that binds them. And a lesson we too often forget.

Let this be a small reminder.

Assiah Phinisee has her eyes fixed on her video game and her ears on the conversation I'm having with her mom - you know, in case the pint-size cutie needs to clarify an important point or two.

"I'm 7 1/2," she soon interjects, pausing for dramatic effect. "And I take my half really seriously."

Her mom, Rasheena, is sitting next to her and talking about the children's book she and Assiah have written, called I Am a Flower Pot Made for a Plant. It is a sweet, if slightly heartbreaking, story about Assiah's search for a new liver - two, actually.

Assiah had her first transplant in 2009. She had her second in 2012, a partial liver whose other lobe was transplanted to Rydell, the 1960s teen idol and fellow Philadelphian. Rydell underwent a double-organ transplant to replace his liver and a kidney at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Assiah underwent her transplant at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington. Rydell received 75 percent of the organ and Assiah got the remaining 25. Continue reading