FedEx Flies Young Girl to Chicago Amid Winter Storm for Liver Transplant

With flights canceled and roads closed due to a winter storm in the Midwest Wednesday, the Faris family said they weren’t sure they’d to make it to Chicago to receive a liver for their 2-year-old daughter.

Young Brooklyn, who suffers from Alagille syndrome, a genetic disorder that can affect the liver, heart and other parts of the body, has been in need of a liver transplant for nearly half her life. So when the Faris family heard there was one available at Lurie Children’s Hospital, they knew they needed to get there, even if it meant traveling 500 miles and facing a brutal blizzard. 

“When they said there’s a blizzard I think I just thought, ‘It doesn’t matter what it takes, we will get there,’” said Brooklyn’s mother, Jessie Faris.

Family and friends scrambled to find a way to get the girl from Memphis to Chicago in time to receive the much-needed help. Late Wednesday, they finally found it when FedEx offered the family their executive jet.

“They said tell him to be at the airport in 30 minutes,” said Brooklyn’s father, Nicholas Faris. “We got to the airport in about 15 minutes.”

Sure enough the family made it to the hospital in time and at 10 a.m. Thursday Brooklyn underwent a successful liver transplant.

“When we learned of the extraordinary circumstances and extreme urgency of the situation with Brooklyn, we knew we had to do something,” Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications at FedEx said in a statement. “Thankfully, we had the network and resources available to make it happen for this family in our hometown of Memphis. The entire FedEx family is pulling for a quick and full recovery for Brooklyn.”

Doctors said the urgent transplant was especially important for Brooklyn.

“We knew she would need a liver and this was the first good offer she had,” said Dr. Saeed Mohammed at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “And so we really wanted to take advantage of it.”

Because of Brooklyn’s size, she only needed about a quarter of the donor’s liver; the rest went to an adult patient at nearby Northwestern Hospital.

“We love that FedEx stepped up and helped us,” Jessie Faris said. “What a generous gift that came at just the right time.” 

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