In 1987, 2-year-old Rita Erickson was propelled into the spotlight because her liver was failing. She needed a transplant, doctors said, and her Columbia Heights family needed help paying for the surgery.
The media coverage that followed — the Star Tribune wrote about her five times in two weeks — documented several successful community fundraisers and her liver transplant, rare for a toddler. The operation nearly failed, but at the last minute, her new liver began functioning. Rita lived — and faded out of the public eye.
“It’s very interesting for me to sit down and read about it [in articles] because I really don’t remember it,” she said.
Today, Rita, 30, has a job in the financial industry, a home in Elk River and a boyfriend she’s planning to marry. And she’s doing two things doctors said she never would: She’s given birth to a baby girl and will likely stop taking her last anti-rejection drug, prescribed so her body wouldn’t attack her liver. Continue reading
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