Temperance teen prepares for liver transplant

THE BLADE | Lauren Lindstrom
In their Temperance, Mich. home, Alyssa Venis, 15, center, and her parents David and Jennifer Venis talk about Alyssa's diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, and the liver transplant she needs.
TEMPERANCE — Alyssa Venis wants to run again.

The 15-year-old Temperance teen has been sidelined from cross-country, track and much else because of complications from cystic fibrosis and the cirrhosis of the liver caused by the disease.

But Alyssa’s doctors recently placed her on the waiting list for a liver transplant, a move that she and her family hope will improve her health and allow her to return to a more active life.

“It’s nerve-racking but it’s also an amazing opportunity,” said Alyssa, who attended her freshman year at Bedford High School until February when a lengthy hospital stay interrupted her schooling.

To pay for a possible transplant — staggeringly expensive surgeries that can cost upward of $800,000 — the family has connected with Children’s Organ Transplant Association, a non-profit that helps families and community volunteers fund-raise for organ, stem cell, and bone marrow transplants. The Venis family has a goal to raise $50,000.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that creates thick, sticky mucus buildup in the lungs, digestive system, and other organs. Continue reading