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For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2015
Media Contact:
Lidia Amoretti
Lidia.amoretty@jhsmiami.org
305-801-6556

LIVER TRANSPLANT PATIENT AT HOLTZ CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL HEALS THROUGH MUSIC

Who:

Angel Lopez, patient; Lidia and Raul Lopez, Angel’s parents; Angel’s medical team at Holtz Children’s Hospital; Corey and Edda Bergman, founders of the Ukulele Kids Club

What:

20 year old Angel Lopez had a lot to time to contemplate his condition as he waited for a liver transplant at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. He spent his time finding peace and healing through his love for music. He turned to learning to play the ukulele and writing his own rap songs.

“Music has helped me express the feelings that I couldn’t say to anyone,” said Angel. “It has been an outlet for me.”

Lopez was just 10 years old when a biopsy detected that he had high liver enzymes. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver – a complication which involves loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring. At that point, doctors told his family that he would eventually need a liver transplant.

He was living in Avon Park, Florida in November of 2014, when his health began to decline. He was very tired, weak and retaining fluids.  At that point, Angel began a more than a nearly 360 mile round-trip trek to visit Holtz Children’s Hospital. He was seen by a gastrointestinal specialist, and placed on the liver transplant list. In June 2015, his condition took a turn for the worst, and he had to be admitted as he awaited the transplant.

“As I waited for a donor, I was feeling very discouraged,” recalls Angel. “I’ve always been the type to tough it out, so I began expressing my feelings through music.”

On July 18, his mother received the lifesaving news – a donor had been found. The very next day Angel successfully underwent a liver transplant at Holtz Children’s Hospital. Doctors say his body is reacting well to the new organ.

“I’m so grateful to my donor and for this great gift of life,” said Angel. “I thank God every day for another chance at life.”

Angel Lopez now looks forward to enjoying life again. He has plans to visit the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forest in California, and to continue enjoying the outdoors again.

Through the music therapy program at Holtz Children’s, many patients like Angel have been able to heal through music and learn to play the ukulele. Ukulele Kids Club Inc., a non-profit organization that has donated hundreds of ukuleles to patients in hospitals for children nationwide, has partnered with Holtz. Angel was given one of the ukuleles and has spent much of his time in the hospital learning how to play it. But Angel wanted to do more than learn – he dreamed of playing his ukulele to an audience, and performing his raps songs.

To make his dream come true, Angel Lopez’ medical team is staging an outdoor concert on Tuesday, August 18, at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His family, medical team and other patients will cheer him on as he performs.

When: August 18, 2015, 11:00 a.m.
Where:

Jackson Memorial Hospital
Alamo Park
1611 N.W. 12th  Avenue
Miami, FL 33136

Editor's Note:

Media can park for free in Park Plaza West garage (green garage). Live trucks can be accommodated outside of the Alamo building.

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Jackson Health System
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136