One in a million:
Donor Alliance staffer finds personal
connection to the mission

Donor Alliance staff work to save and heal lives every day. It is our mission and our life’s work, day in and day out, at all levels of the organization. Many of our staff have a personal connection to our mission as well, including Angelica Espinosa.

Angelica is a clinical onsite specialist with Donor Alliance and is responsible for the identification and evaluation of potential donors. Angelica’s daughter’s life was saved by not one but two transplants. It is a profound perspective that makes Angelica incredibly serious about and grateful for the work she does every day.

Angelica’s daughter Amara was born with biliary atresia, a condition that affects one out of every 20,000 newborn babies per year in the US. The condition results in the biliary ducts not functioning, so bile accumulates in the liver, the children develop cirrhosis and most need a transplant by 2-years-old to survive.

Amara’s diagnosis and road to transplant were her parent’s worst nightmare: Amara had her first surgery at just 26 days old, she had 16 episodes of cholangitis (a serious infection of the bile ducts,) 13 PICC lines and 8 months of IV antibiotics. She had multiple C. diff infections due to long-term antibiotic use. Then, at 14 months old, she received a liver transplant. Only three days later, a clot formed in the hepatic artery eliminating blood flow to the liver. As a result of this blood clot, Amara had a poor prognosis and needed another transplant urgently. Miraculously, Amara received a second liver transplant, and went through a challenging recovery, including two weeks in a coma followed by chronic rejection for two years. But she survived.

Gratefully, today Amara is thriving. She is a healthy, happy 9-year-old girl. She doesn’t have any significant limitations besides some dietary restrictions. She is an amazing student, has a passion for drawing, plays soccer, loves Salsa dancing and skiing.

“She is a complete miracle,” said Angelica of her daughter. “We are a happy family, very grateful to see her growing up.”

If Angelica could speak to her daughter’s donors, she would say “thank you for giving life to my child. We are raising her to be a worthy person; she is caring, smart and loved. She will always honor the memory and life of our donors. Our gratitude is endless with you and your loved ones.”

Angelica’s role at Donor Alliance has been a transformative point in her family’s transplantation experience.

“After our journey with my daughter, having the opportunity to be part of an organization that saves and heals lives through organ and tissue donation has been a blessing. Being able to see the other side of the process has played a big role in my healing process. It gives me comfort to know that I am part of an incredible team honoring donor families and helping families just like mine to have more time with the ones they love.”

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