Young SJ transplant patient defies the odds

COURIER-POST | Kim Mulford
Riley O'Brien smiles during an interview with the Courier-Post at his home in Magnolia. He received a rare heart-lung transplant four years ago. Only five such operations have been performed in the United States since 2013.
In 2012, while 3-year-old Riley O'Brien was on the waiting list for a heart/lung transplant, a Courier-Post videographer spent a day documenting his experiences. Courier-Post

MAGNOLIA - Four years after receiving a new heart and lungs from a child donor, 8-year-old Riley O'Brien is facing a whole different set of challenges.

Despite a round of invasive tests impending this week, the nine medications he takes daily, and the worries of contracting a life-threatening infection, Riley had a more pressing aggravation during a recent visit.

A pile of homework for a possible snow day.

The second-grader groaned about the task, appearing like any other kid beleaguered by the demands of school. Then he set to work mugging for a photojournalist's camera, twisting his grin sideways and swinging his arms as if to run.

"I'm Flash," he explained, before rearranging his pose.

In truth, his mother said, he's a miracle child. Continue reading 
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