A fifteen-month-old girl is sitting on the donor transplant list and is waiting for a new liver. Family and friends of Sophia Van Ermen and her family held a benefit on Saturday to help with her rising medical costs.
Sophia's parents Kim and Scott Van Ermen found out she had biliary atresia, a life-threatening disease affecting the liver, when she was only 10 weeks old. Already the expenses are climbing and the family needs help.
Scott Van Ermen said "We take it together as a family as one day at a time and it's something we have to do. We're raising three other kids plus her and it's something as parents that we're going to do whatever we need to do to keep them healthy and be successful in life."
Their friends and family have been there to help them do just that.
Kim's friend and co-worker, Kiara Black, planned the Support Sophia event to reach out to the community. She told news channel 7 about it, which prompted the earlier coverage. Hundreds of people ended up showing up to donate and give support.
Kim Van Ermen said, "Even since her first story aired on channel 7, there's just been an immense influx of people we don't even know that have heard her story and have been touched by it and are reaching out, willing to help anyway they can. It's very amazing."
Sophia's story touched one viewer so deeply, he decided he wanted to help in a way money can't buy.
"I was watching the news in the morning and I heard the story and right away I felt like how could would it be if I could be a matching donor," said Nik Wix.
Wix is an army veteran and has always wanted to serve, but right before he was to be deployed, he was hit by a drunk driver and honorably discharged. He is otherwise healthy, but still wants to help his community. He says his faith is what told him to look into becoming a living donor for this little girl. Sophia and Nik...have the same blood type.
"I'm really hoping, if they can't find a deceased donor, that I can do it. I already understand that there's a lot of risk for me and her, but I'm up for the challenge. like I said, being in the military, there ain't much that scares me," Wix said.
The Van Ermans said they are so grateful for all of the support and donations. Sophia is high on the donor list...but there's no telling when a suitable donor will become available. Once Sophia does get her new liver however, a whole new wave of bills will be coming.
If you would like to donate to help out the family. Contact Kiara Black at (715)383-2203.
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