Blood drive to be held for 11-year-old heart transplant recipient – Omaha World-Herald



Femi Tevoedjre is your typical 11-year-old.

She collects nail polish and Barbies. She paints and reads everything from the Bible to mystery books.

But she’s also been through plenty of challenges in her life.

Last year, Femi received a heart transplant after being diagnosed with a congenital heart disease.

With a positive attitude and many prayers, Femi made a full recovery. This weekend, the American Red Cross will host a blood drive in her honor.

Femi, who will start sixth grade at Carriage Hill Elementary School in the fall, moved with her family to the United States from Benin, Africa, in 2007.

Several years later, Femi showed symptoms of her heart condition such as having little energy and passing out.

“She just started getting tired at school and couldn’t do anything anymore,” said Sonia Tevoedjre, Femi’s mother.

She was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy, a disease where her heart was not supplying her body with enough oxygen.

It was soon discovered that Femi would need a heart transplant.

“I was believing that God would do a miracle,” Sonia said.

The average wait time for a heart transplant is six months to two years.

Femi, however, received her heart transplant only six days after being put on the list.

“I was shocked when they called me,” Tevoedjre said. “I started crying.”

Femi doesn’t remember having much of a reaction to hearing she was in need of a heart transplant.

“It’s God’s way for me to get healed,” Femi said to her mother after hearing the news.

Within two hours of getting the call that she would receive a transplant, Femi was in the hospital prepared for surgery.

After the transplant, Femi wasn’t able to attend school for three months because of her weakened immune system. Now — a year after the transplant — Femi is fully recovered.

“She is not limited anymore,” Tevoedjre said.

Femi can play sports again, including volleyball, basketball and badminton.

“I beat all the boys in school at badminton,” Femi said.

What has inspired the Tevoedjre family more than anything through the ordeal is their strong Christian faith, Tevoedjre said.

The blood drive in Femi’s honor will be held at Glad Tidings Church, 7415 Hickory St., on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS, use the Red Cross Blood Donor app or visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code FEMI.

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