July 21, 2008

Blue Ridge Boy Gets Life-Saving Liver Transplant Following Tragic Coppell Drowning

By Dan X. McGraw, The Dallas Morning News

Jul. 21--A Coppell couple who lost both of their young children in a tragic drowning accident two weeks ago helped save the life of a young Blue Ridge boy by donating their daughter's liver.

Still reeling from their own loss, Vanny and Matt Stocco decided to donate one-year-old Catherine's organs.

Catherine and her three-year-old brother Marcus died after being found in the bottom of the family's swimming pool on July 8. The youngsters had apparently wandered out of their home into the backyard. Marcus' organs could not be salvaged.

Galen Horacek, 5, who was suffering from acute liver failure, received his new liver two days after the accident and is expected to be released from Children's Medical Center Dallas later this week.

Jeff Horacek, Galen's father, said his family is thankful for the Stoccos' decision.

"We were very fortunate," he said. "We thank God and the donor family."

Mr. and Mrs. Stocco said it was an easy decision to donate the organs after they learned neither of their children could be saved.

"We held in our hands the opportunity to save another family from the sadness we feel, a sadness we would spare anyone if we could," the couple said in a statement.

Galen is not expected to have any long-term effects of his transplant, and his parents already have seen the difference.

"Compared to the last couple of weeks, he is doing marvelous," Mr. Horacek said.


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