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Family of Marshall boy, 10, needing heart transplant seeks help

By Joe Holloway jholloway@news-journal.com
Feb. 12, 2013 at 11 p.m.


MARSHALL - When Anthony Herman was born 10 years ago to Ray and Kathleen Herman, every initial indication was that he was a perfectly healthy baby boy.

It wasn't long, however, before doctors diagnosed a serious problem - critical aortic valve stenosis - a disease of the heart valves in which the opening of the aortic valve is narrowed.

Nine days after being born, Anthony had his first open-heart surgery - something he has endured every year of his life.

Physicians say the types of surgeries Anthony's been getting through the years will no longer suffice. He needs a new heart.

"There's no other repair. No other options," said Kathleen Herman.

The prospect of a heart transplant strains the entire family – from Anthony to his siblings.

"He was born with this, and he's been living with this for 10 years, but he's old enough now that he gets it," she said.

As the Hermans wait for news that a compatible heart has been found for Anthony, the honor student in Marshall ISD is trying to live his life like any other fourth grader.

"He's as active as he can possibly be," she said.

His parents say they are grateful Anthony has health insurance coverage.

"The event itself, of just the transplant, the pre-transplant care, plus the procurement, and the surgery itself, we've been quoted that it can be up to $1 million before any type of coverage," his mother said. "The hope is that he'll have the coverage to provide most of that, if not all."

But, even after a successful transplant, Anthony faces a host of medical issues.

"Essentially, we're trading one medical condition for another one," she said. "It's not going to stop. The medication alone to keep you healthy is $3,000 to $5,000 per month before coverage, and the reality is that there are always co-pays and other expenses you incur throughout the lifetime."

That's why the family has joined with the Children's Organ Transplant Association to raise funds for Anthony to assist with transplant-related expenses.

"We are in with COTA because we've been advised to by the transplant team," Kathleen Herman said. "They told us we need to have a safety net. Today we're good, but the day will come that potentially we'll have a period where you need to make sure there's no interruption. It's really to cover his lifetime of expenses."

The Hermans, along with area local volunteers, are kicking off the fundraising campaign during the Meet the Symphony concert at Central Perks at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Anyone interested in helping the cause is encouraged to attend. Donations can also be made on the COTA website at cota.donorpages.com/PatientOnlineDonation/COTAforAnthonyPH.

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