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Mariahville 4-year-old recovering from heart transplant

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 6:06 PM EDT
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(WABI) - Four-year-old Liam Semple of Mariahville is no stranger to surgery, having had multiple heart surgeries throughout his life due to heterotaxy syndrome, a rare heart defect.

Two years ago, doctors told Liam he would need a heart transplant as his replacement valves from those previous surgeries weren’t working.

“A lot of praying. A lot of not knowing. It’s stressful,” said Gabriel Semple,

On Aug. 13, the Semple family’s prayers were answered.

“We got a phone call, and that was Liam’s doctor saying that a heart had become available, pretty much get down here now,” Gabriel said.

Liam had his heart transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital the next morning and is recovering just fine.

“He looks amazing. He’s doing a lot better, and that puts me in a lot better of a place that’s for sure,” Gabriel said.

“It’s a remarkable feeling. I don’t even know how to explain it. My grandson is going to be here. That’s just awesome. Awesome,” said Rebecca Bunker.

However, Liam is still a long way from coming home. Last year, the family set up a fundraiser to build a new house as the one Liam’s family currently lives in has too many issues and is simply not suitable for a toddler like Liam with medical needs.

But COVID hurt the fundraising efforts last year, so this year, along with a GoFundMe, proceeds from the fourth Annual “Turn and Burn” weekend in Orland will also benefit Liam.

Turn and Burn Weekend is a sort of bike rally. Sort of.

“They kind of like, burn the tires off the bikes,” Bunker said with a laugh.

All for the kid with the new heart, who now needs a new home.

“I could care less if I live in it, but I want him to have a place that is, you know, safe and comfortable and actually functionable for him,” Gabriel said.

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