COTA, community campaigns for graduating transplant recipient

Adam Kurth, a liver transplant recipient, looks forward to a “virtual graduation” with classmates from Desert Mountain High School.
Adam Kurth, a liver transplant recipient, looks forward to a “virtual graduation” with classmates from Desert Mountain High School.
Submitted photo

After receiving a liver transplant a month ago, and missing 25 days of school, Adam Kurth’s grades and classes are on track for him to graduate with his class on May 21.

Set to participate in a “virtual graduation,” the Desert Mountain High School student, according to a press release, found out that he had primary sclerosing cholangitis or PSC at age 17.

PSC is a disease that creates a long-term progressive dysfunction of the liver, causing inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts, which generally allow the bile to drain from the liver.

The bile duct scarring, which occurs in PSC, narrows the canals of the biliary tree and impedes the flow of bile from the liver to the intestines. Eventually, it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure.

When the onset occurs in children, the disease is usually more aggressive; PSC also increases the risk of various cancers, the release described.

The teen son of Julie and Tracy Kurth was able to receive a liver donation for a transplant that occurred on April 3, thanks to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and a donor, according to the release.

After graduation, and a liver transplant in the middle of the pandemic, he will continue with numerous medications, hospital checkups, and more to ensure that his new liver remains healthy, the release said, detailing that a study of his original liver post-transplant showed lymphoma.

He is one of a handful of documented cases, the release stated, to have PSC and lymphoma, which the children’s hospital hopes both were removed during the transplant and he will undergo chemotherapy in upcoming months to make sure.

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association, a national 501(c)3 charity, is “dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses,” noted the release.

Scottsdale volunteers are raising $60,000 for COTA in honor of transplant patients like the graduating senior, Adam, the release said.

COTA, family and friends are working to raise funds for a lifetime of transplant-related expenses, noted the release, outlining how a transplant costs from $100,000 to $800,000.

Even if covered by insurance, families face out-of-pocket expenses equaling up to tens of thousands of dollars annually for transplant families with lifetime totals exceeding $1,000,000.

In cases where a shortfall exists, COTA helps bridge the financial gap, the release added.

Beginning May 21 through June 9, COTA is asking for donations of $20, for 20 days, from 2,020 people to get him closer to the COTA goal of $60,000 in funds for a lifetime of transplant expenses.

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