When their daughter needed to fly across the country to receive a life-or-death transplant, her parents were forced to arrange it through unconventional means.
During the winter of 2016, the Faris family faced the horrible situation where their daughter, Brooklyn, needed to go to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for a liver transplant, but they were unable to get there from their home in Memphis. A winter storm had prevented flights through the Midwest, and there was no sign of airports re-opening by the following morning.
Brooklyn was born in China with Alagille syndrome, a rare genetic disease that caused her liver damage. Her parents, Nice and Jesse, had originally adopted her in hopes of helping her receive the liver transplant that she needed.
Considering their options, they would be too late if they tried to get to Chicago by car or train. Some people reportedly offered the family private and charter planes, but, once again, the weather did not make this alternative feasible.
However, an unconventional plan came about from the idea of a family friend.
FedEx was known to fly patients in extreme situations on occasion. As they are not a passenger carrier, FedEx had the ability to go against decisions concerning the weather. When FedEx heard of the family’s problem, they arranged for the family, including Brooklyn, Nick, Jesse, and their elder adopted daughter, Rhet, to be on a plane in half an hour.
According to NBC, “I do remember looking at Nick, and we were just shaking our heads because it was just completely surreal, the entire afternoon and evening events,” Jesse said.
Getting there in time, and after a surgery that lasted ten hours, the operation was a success. The liver had come from an unidentified donor, and a portion of it later went to an adult patient. “We were just incredibly — I feel ‘thankful’ is not a strong enough word — but thankful for the gift of life that [the donor’s] family had chosen in the midst of their sorrow and grief,” Jesse added.
“I feel like in addition to just feeling like the hand of God was with us in this situation, we also felt a tremendous amount of support from our community,” Jesse explained, “The way the story has resonated with people and inspired people — we’ve just been really overwhelmed with the way people have cared about Brooklyn and about our family.”