March 23, 2005
Although Nora Flavin knows her 16-year-old daughter, Darcy, will get the heart transplant she needs, the Mesa resident is worried.
She’s worried about finding a second job, covering medical costs her insurance won’t and having to move to Los Angeles for the transplant surgery and recovery, which could last up to six months.
But Nora Flavin, 49, said that because of the Children’s Organ Transplant
Association she does not feel alone.
The Indiana-based group is organizing a fund-raising campaign to help with medical, moving and other expenses.
The largest event is an April 3 Run for Life at DC Ranch in north Scottsdale, which will include 5K and 10K runs, a 5K walk and a 1-mile family fun run.
All the money raised will go toward Darcy Flavin and other children who need organ transplants.
"It’s given me hope, just knowing they’re there to help us," said Nora Flavin.
Hope is important to Nora Flavin, who lost her husband and only son to the same disease that her daughter has.
In 1995, doctors diagnosed Darcy Flavin with restrictive cardiomyopathy, which prevents the heart’s chambers from filling with blood.
In advanced cases, the heart may stop pumping blood.
In 1993, a blood clot killed Nora Flavin’s husband after he received surgery for the disease. Less than two years later, her 11-year-old son died from complications during surgery from the same disease.
Nora Flavin said Darcy helped her through the deaths even though she was just 5 years old at the time.
"She just tried to make everything right," Nora Flavin said at her Mesa home with Darcy, who was curled up next to her on the couch. "She would do whatever it took to make me smile."
When doctors told Nora Flavin her daughter had the same disease as her husband and son, she couldn’t help but worry.
"She’s so full of life . . . This can’t be happening," she said. "When you have a child going through an organ transplant, your whole way of thinking changes — you feel like you’re going crazy."
Doctors have not scheduled Darcy Flavin’s surgery, but they expect it to take place within the next year. In the meantime, the Flavins travel to the University of California, Los Angeles for check-ups every three months. Through doctor’s visits and high school life, Darcy Flavin is her mother’s source of strength and comfort.
"I’m worried, but Darcy says it’s going to be OK, and if she says it’s going to be OK, then it’s going to be OK," she said. "She says she going to live to be 105."
"My strength comes along with my personality," Darcy Flavin said. "I’m not the type of person to die. I’m the type to live."
Run for Life
When: 7:40 a.m. April 3
Where: DC Ranch, 20551 N. Pima Road
Cost: $20 through Sunday, $22 from Monday to April 2, $25 on race day
Information: (480) 502-2725