Take a look at Anna Parish, and you’ll see a vibrant, vivacious 10-year-old. What you won’t be able to detect is biliary atresia, the rare liver disease the Dunn Elementary School student has been battling since she was diagnosed at 5 weeks old.
“The only way out is a liver transplant,” said Anna’s mother, Cheryl Parish. “The sick part about her disease is that in order to get an organ, she has to move up the (transplant recipient) list. The only way to move up the list is to get more sick. Then you fall into that problem of is she too sick to have the transplant?”
Most days, Anna said she feels “all right. Sometimes like I’ll be light-headed, but other than that, (I’m) good.”
Actually, Anna is feeling even better than that right now because she’s focused on motivating people to join Team Anna at the American Liver Foundation’s Liver Life Walk in Louisville on May 15. “It’s so people can raise money for the American Liver Foundation, so then other people that need help they can get some,” the fourth-grader said.
Raising money for the foundation and increasing awareness about liver disease and organ donation “keeps me going,” Anna said.
The youngster will head up her team of walkers in the River City this week, but on May 22, she’ll kick off the Liver Life Walk in Cincinnati, where she’s treated because “they don’t do liver transplants on pediatrics in Louisville,” Cheryl Parish explained.
Anna has been named the “Liver Champion” for the Cincinnati event because of the fundraising and awareness efforts she and her family have made. She will speak to the crowd and then begin the walk. Her mother couldn’t be prouder – or more hopeful.
“People have this perception that it’s all these older people with liver disease. People don’t understand there are kids battling too,” Cheryl Parish said. “We just want to get the message out because you could save someone like Anna.”
Liver Life Walk
Benefiting the American Liver Foundation
Where: Waterfront Park
When: Sunday, May 15. Register at 11 a.m.; program and walk begin at 12:30 p.m.
For more information: Contact Lindsay Eichelman at 877.548.3730 ext. 102, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.liverfoundation.org/events.
Etc.: Want to join Team Anna? Go to http://tinyurl.com/TeamAnna to sign up.
Did you know:
- 1 in 10 people in the United States face a future with liver disease.
- The American Liver Foundation is working toward a world free of liver disease.
- Nearly 20,000 people will participate in Liver Life Walk events across the country.
Category: Cover Stories
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.