Benefit planned to help double transplant recipient

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 21, 2002

A benefit will be held Friday in Brookhaven and Monticello for a15-year-old Sontag girl who is recovering from a double lung andliver transplant.

The event, hosted by Q102, The DAILY LEADER and MississippiOrgan Recovery, has been organized to help the family of BrandiCobb with the expensive costs associated with her transplant.

Brandi, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth,received the double lung and liver transplant Sept. 9 at St. LouisChildren’s Hospital and is recovering well, but the associatedcosts of the transplant and post-transplant treatments have thefamily requesting help. She is the daughter of Sammy and PaulaCobb.

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Q102 radio personality Chuck Ivey and Mississippi OrganRecovery’s James Laird will set up at Bank of Brookhaven Fridaybeginning at 6 a.m. to accept donations. Scott Tynes, who coversLawrence County for The DAILY LEADER, will be available at theLawrence County Civic Center at the same time. All three have saidthey will remain at their locations as long as donations continueto come in.

The radio station will update its listeners throughout the dayof the progress at the two locations with live updates.

Ivey, who organized the event with Laird, said he hopes to bringin at least $5,000 in donations.

The family has lived in St. Louis for more than a year whilewaiting for the donor organs and during Brandi’s recovery.

Brandi was originally expected to be home in time for Christmas,but that return may be delayed.

She recently tested positive for CMZ, a virus with symptomssimilar to a bad cold that most people overcome at a young age andbecome immune to, Paula said. Because Brandi was born with CF andhas spent much of her life in the hospital, she had never beenexposed to the virus until receiving it from the donor organs.

For a person with a transplant, the virus can be a real problembecause it attacks the organs, Paula said. Therefore, the doctorsmay decide to keep Brandi close so they can keep monitoringher.

The family, however, has been paying bills at home as well asthe costs associated with living elsewhere and medical fees.

“We are hoping that we won’t run out of money before time tocome home. Things are getting really tight,” Paula said.

Brandi’s insurance costs more than $1,200 a month.

Cystic Fibrosis affects approximately 30,000 children and youngadults, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The averagelife 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. Eachtime two carriers conceive a child, there is a 25 percent chancethat child will be a carrier and a 25 percent chance that the childwill be a non-carrier. One in 20 Americans, more than 12 million,is an unknowing symptomless carrier of the defective gene.

Brandi loves to hear from her friends and neighbors back homeand urges anyone interested to log into her website to post messages and sign theguestbook.