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Girl finally receives long-sought transplant

MONTICELLO — A long-awaited and hoped for “miracle” occurredMonday for a 14-year-old Sontag girl suffering from CysticFibrosis.

Brandi Cobb, the daughter of Samuel and Paula Cobb of Sontag,received a double lung and liver transplant at St. Louis Children’sHospital in that city.

“She’s doing really well,” Paula said. “She’s still sleeping alot, but that’s normal. She’s heavily sedated. We’re just so glad.We’re just so blessed.”

The organs for the transplant came just in time, Paula said.

“She was at the end, the very end, of her disease,” her mothersaid. “She didn’t have very much time. I had been preparingeveryone and telling them there wasn’t much time left for her.”

The family had been living in St. Louis for more than a yearwaiting for the organs, and Brandi’s condition had steadilydeclined. Brandi was almost bed-ridden by the time the organsbecame available. She was still recovering from having recentlydeveloped a hole in one of her lungs.

Now, however, things are looking bright for the Cobb family.

“They might take her off the ventilator tomorrow,” Paulasaid.

The family is still looking at approximately three months in St.Louis, Paula said, so the doctors can monitor Brandi’sprogress.

“That would put us home just before Christmas,” Paula said.

Brandi owes her life to the compassion of a stranger, Paulasaid, and that is something she will never forget.

“We are so grateful to our donor family,” she said. “We hopeothers will help us pray for their peace as they cope with theirloss. That’s really important to us.”

Paula said the family is also grateful to the many Mississippifamilies who offered their support, prayers and donations to helpBrandi through her illness.

“I will be forever grateful,” she said. “We are so touched byall the love, support and prayer we received.”

Brandi was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth and has spentmore time in the hospital than she has at home, Paula said.

In February, Brandi shared her outlook on living with thedebilitating disease in an interview with The DAILY LEADER.

“When I was born I had to have surgery before I was 24 hours oldto remove blockage from my intestines,” Brandi said, adding thatsince then she has had at least nine surgeries that were all twopart surgeries.

One of the symptoms of CF is it causes the body to produce anabnormally thick, sticky mucus. This abnormal mucus clogs the lungsand can lead to fatal infections, while obstructing and preventingenzymes from reaching the intestines to digest food.

“Because of my CF, I have cirrhosis of the liver, and I havealso been diagnosed with diabetes,” Brandi said.

The genetic disease affects approximately 30,000 children andyoung adults, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Theaverage life expectancy for a person with CF is 31 years.

A child must inherit a defective copy of the CF gene — one fromeach parent — to get the disease, according to the Foundation.Each time two carriers conceive a child, there is a 25 percentchance that child will be a carrier and a 25 percent chance thatthe child will be a non-carrier. One in 20 Americans, more than 12million, is an unknowing symptomless carrier of the defectivegene.

“I heard the song ‘The Dance’ by Garth Brooks and it reminded meof my life and CF,” Brandi said. “In the song it says, ‘I couldhave missed the pain, but I’d had to miss the dance.’ I am glad Ihave CF. Without it I wouldn’t be the person I am and I wouldn’tknow all the wonderful people in my life. I thank God for every daythat I have had and every day I continue to have.”

Brandi loves to hear from her friends and neighbors back homeand urges anyone interested to log into her website atwww.caringbridge.com/page/brandicobb to post messages and sign theguestbook.