Book sale raises money to help son of DSC professor
Arizona Smith-Lahrman's battle with biliary atresia is aided by Dixie students
Published: Monday, September 13, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 21:09
Move over tragedy, this Sept. 11 teachers and local business joined together for a book sale, raising over $1,000 for the liver transplant of DSC professor Matt Smith-Lahrman's son.
Smith-Lahrman's son, Arizona, suffers from a condition called biliary atresia which prevents bile from leaving his liver. As an infant Arizona required a nurse at home to monitor his condition. At age nine the condition had worsened and he required a liver transplant.
The book sale was held at the Bean Scene, a local coffee shop. The book sale took place between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. The sale raised over $1049, selling softcover books for $1 and hardcovers for $2. The sale had a constant influx of people and brought a significant increase of business to the Bean Scene.
Bean Scene owner Erin Tapia said she had more business that morning than in a whole day the week before. The sale was held on St. George Boulevard, which made it highly visible to passers by.
"We have a awesome community that is always willing to help others in their time of need," Tapia said.
Some buyers got away with great deals, including one who bought a full boxed set of Harry Potter novels. Everything from fiction to autobiography and children's books were there.
The sale was handled by the Children's Organ Transplant Association. The COTA helps the family plan and carry out fundraisers for Arizona's medical costs. Arizona's website at the COTA, http://COTAforArizonaS.com/, lets the family track donations. They have raised about $7,000 of the $65,000 needed for his surgery costs.
COTA campaign community coordinator Sherri Dial was present for most of the event. Sherri said the event was a success. Also present were DSC professors Amijo Comeford and John Jones. Comeford was managing the sales for the morning.
The faculty at DSC have gone to great lengths to support Matt Smith-Lahrman's son though his illness.
"The college was very generous to give me six weeks paid leave for my son's surgery," Matt Smith-Lahrman said.
Janeene Cowley, administrative secretary in the McDonald building, and Martin Peterson, director of food services, helped to put together a benefit breakfast on Arizona's behalf.
"The college has been a big factor." said English department chair Randy Jasmine. "The faculty has been great about donating time and money to this cause."
Jasmine also said COTA sells bracelets to benefit Arizona on DSC's campus at the bookstore and at Tuacahn events.
COTA and the family are planning more events for Arizona. Coupons will be handed out on campus for students to use at Panda Express on Sept. 24 and 25. Using these coupons will donate 20% of the meal's price toward Arizona's medical costs. Other events like a concert are in the early planning stages Dial said.
Despite much faculty involvement there has been little support from students at the fundraisers.
"It's too bad we have to be in these situations before we realize how crucial these things are." Cowley said. "Most students don't understand the high costs of surgery."
Tracy Smith-Lahrman, Arizona's mother, recalls the early years of Arizona's illness. He required injections from a doctor every four hours, even late at night.
"We drank a lot of coffee," Tracy Smith-Lahrman said.
"We're still paying bills from when he was born," Tracy Smith-Lahrman said.
Once, when Arizona was young, the family had to Life Flight him to Salt Lake, that expense alone was $17,000.
"Once you have a transplant you're not out of the woods." Tracy Smith-Lahrman said many people forget about the medical problems that come with a transplant.
"He can't do many public things, like swim in a public pool," she said. Arizona's transplant leaves him vulnerable to common germs because of immune system suppressing drugs.
Arizona's condition is an ongoing struggle. On Saturday he was taken to the hospital for unknown reasons.