Waxhaw 4-year-old looks for community help for rare transplant

Waxhaw 4-year-old looks for community help for rare transplant

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by KATIE KILLEN / NBC Charlotte Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 9:24 AM

WAXHAW, N.C. -- A Waxhaw family is hoping for community support after a devastating diagnosis for their son. 

Four-year-old Anthony LaPenna needs both a liver and small intestine transplant.  He's on the donor list, but the transplant is incredibly expensive. 

In fact, experts say the costs can exceed $500,000.  Anthony was diagnosed with Chronic Pseudo Obstruction. 

"His small intestines, the nerves just don't work.  You and I can push through food and water and absorb nutrients through our small intestines just like everybody else.  Anthony can't," said Colleen LaPenna, Anthony's mother. 

The LaPennas are in out of the hospital, sometimes for months at a time.  They have two other children. 

The four year battle takes a toll on their finances. 

"As long as we have a roof over our heads and food in my kids mouth, that's what's important right now," said Frank LaPenna, Anthony's dad. 

The family has linked up with the Children's Organ Transplant Association.  The organization helps families raise money through fundraiser for transplants. 

They're hoping others neighbors will attend the events, so little Anthony can have they life they've imagined. 

"I want to see him go swim, I want him to take that shower and I want him to do the things 4 or 5,6 year old boys do," said Frank.

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