Youngster still awaits life-saving transplant

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 5, 2002

A 14-year-old Sontag girl suffering from Cystic Fibrosis isstill in St. Louis awaiting a double lung and liver transplant. Shehas been waiting since July 2001.

Brandi Cobb, daughter of Sammy and Paula Cobb of Sontag, wasnotified in July 2001 that she was next on the list for thelife-prolonging transplant and a benefit was held to get the familyup north to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which has the bestfacilities and experience for these type of transplants. The familymade the trip in September and has been waiting ever since, saidDezarie Fowler, a friend of the family and an organizer for anApril 13 benefit.

Brandi has had a few opportunities for a liver transplant,Fowler said, but doctors advised the family to wait.

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“It would be best to do them both at the same time,” Fowlersaid.

Time, however, is something the Cobbs don’t have a lot of.

Out of the 400 strands of CF, Brandi’s is one of the mostadvanced types. Most people don’t get as advanced as she is untilthey reach their 20s or 30s, Paula said.

“She is at the end stages of CF,” she said. “Anything couldhappen to her at any time. It’s terrifying.”

Since Brandi arrived in September, she has seen one friendreceive a liver transplant and recover well, and two others havedied, Fowler said, but refuses to let that discourage her.

“She’s a very strong-willed child,” she said. “Her outlook onthis is so upbeat. She’s an encouragement to her parents.”

In an update on her website Feb. 27, Brandi mentioned heroutlook.

“I heard the song ‘The Dance’ by Garth Brooks, and it remindedme of my life and CF,” Brandi said. “In the song it says, ‘I couldhave missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.’ I amglad I have CF. Without it I wouldn’t be the person I am, and Iwouldn’t know all the wonderful people in my life. I thank God forevery day that I have had and every day I continue to have.”

Brandi was released from the hospital March 27, on what shecalls “parole”, and is presently staying with her parents in anapartment at the Ronald McDonald House. She has to make severaltrips a day to the hospital, but said she enjoys being “free.”

Brandi’s chances for receiving the transplants increasedsignificantly March 19 when her liver “grade” was updated.Transplant needs are based on a grade from one to 30 with 30 beinghighest priority.

“If it was just her liver, she wouldn’t have been that high, butwith her lungs and other problems they approved her for the 30rating,” Sammy said.

Fowler said Brandi loves to hear from her friends and neighborsback home and urges anyone interested to log into Brandi’s websiteat to sign the guestbook.