Family raises $66,000 for son's liver surgery


POSTED: Monday, November 23, 2009

The parents of a 6-year-old Maui boy who needs a liver transplant have raised enough money to go ahead with the surgery.

John and Hayde Sim said that through a series of fundraisers and contributions from Hawaii and the mainland, they have exceeded their goal of $65,000.

John Sim, a hotel maintenance worker, and his wife, a research assistant for an agricultural firm, said they were grateful for the support, including a Honolulu Star-Bulletin story in February about their fundraising efforts.

“;From the bottom of our hearts, again, we thank you and the rest of Star-Bulletin staff for your extraordinary support and big, big help for Jharrell,”; Hayde Sim said.

Campaign coordinator Janet Sim, John's sister, said the family has raised $66,000 and has halted fundraising.

Based on a recent evaluation at Kapiolani Children's Medical Center, Jharrell's medical condition has not deteriorated to the point where he requires a liver transplant immediately, family supporters said. The boy suffers from biliary atresia, a rare condition in newborn infants in which the bile duct between the liver and small intestine is blocked or absent.

“;Miraculously, though badly damaged, his liver is still holding on,”; Hayde Sim said.

Sim said the physician decided to delay the surgery until Jharrell's liver stops functioning.

“;They want to delay it as long as his body can hold so that his veins will become bigger for a higher success of the transplant,”; Sim said.

“;They don't know how many more months that he can hold, but we still pray for a miracle.”;

Relatives said Jharrell has to take medications, including antibiotics, every day.

One of the medications is vitamin D, used to strengthen bones.

Hayde said Jharrell's left arm is in a cast. He has broken his arm twice, the last time in a fall.

Jharrell has no gallbladder; his spleen and liver are enlarged; and his intestine is directly connected to his liver, making him more prone to infections, the family said.

Family and friends conducted numerous fundraisers, include rummage sales and sales of food, such as vegetarian sandwiches, manapua and banana lumpia.

The family said funds raised were remitted to Children's Organ Transplant Organization, which will release them only for transplant-related expenses.