10-year-old liver transplant recipient throws out first pitch - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

10-year-old liver transplant recipient throws out first pitch


On the mound for the Riverhawks Tuesday, a small girl with a big heart and a pretty good arm as well. 10-year-old liver disease survivor Shelby Martin brought the heat to kick off the 'Hawks game.

Ten years ago when Shelby was diagnosed with the rare disease, her family knew they were in for a battle.

Tuesday though, with a new liver and a delivery from the stretch she burns one in over home plate while her fans cheer.

"I was kind of mad when my Mom told me I was asleep for 8 days on the ventilator because I could've been doing much more fun things," said Shelby.

She's full of energy now but the past year hasn't been easy for Shelby Martin and her family. Seven months on the transplant list left her mom, Jennifer, waiting and wondering when that call would come.

"It's been unreal. It's really been a ten year journey. She was diagnosed when she was ten weeks old with the liver disease and we knew it'd get to this. It was really this Summer when her health started to decline to the point where we knew she needed the transplant," said Jennifer.

Ask Shelby, and she's got not time to be sick. With all the running, jumping and victory cartwheels, who can blame her?

I asked, "How does it feeling, knowing that you have someone else's liver?"

"Ummm, I've never really thought about it. But now that you mention it, it's kind of weird," she responded.

"Shelby and I have always been really close, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. We argue a lot but it has made us a lot closer," explained her sister, Riley.

The Martin family, clearly moved by the unselfish donation their daughter received now plan to advocate organ donation as much as possible.

"Every kid when they're little wants to be like a firefighter or a policeman. They want to be a hero and that's another way you can do that. It saved my sister's life," said Riley.

A portion of admission and the 50/50 raffle from the Riverhawks game goes to Shelby's family to help with their medical bills.

The Martin family has another fundraiser planned for this fall. "Shelby-palooza" will feature live bands and other activities. That's planned for this September.

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