At 16, Samantha from Pomona had a liver transplant. One year later, her wish to go to Liverpool to have a "Beatles Experience" came true when she boarded a plane for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It took her a year of healing for her doctors to approve her international Make-A-Wish® travel and stamp her passport!
You may ask why a teenager today is obsessed with the Beatles.
Well, she has been a fan since the age of 12 when her grandma introduced her to the music of the original boy band…and later the doctors at her hospital would play Beatles music for finding their music now comforting and inspirational. So, she wished to go and see where the Beatles started……and so started her recovery!
As reported by The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Sam Murguia will be a junior at Claremont High School when classes begin again next week. But that was far from a sure thing, the summer after her freshman year of high school.
"It was last year, a month before summer break, when I started getting sick," said, Sam, now 16.
Her skin turned yellowish, as did the whites of her eyes, her feet began to swell and she was tired all the time.
"I knew inside of me that something was wrong," her mother, Laura Murguia, said. "That’s when my mom says God speaks to you."
Doctors thought Sam had contracted hepatitis A and that she would soon recover. But she didn’t.
"I saw her getting more weak and more yellow," Murguia said. "On June 26, she told me she couldn’t shower; she was too weak."
Finally, with Sam in a hospital bed and a room full of doctors, they got the prognosis: acute liver failure.
Murguia cried thinking about it, even now.
"I thought it was like a dream," she said. The doctors were frank with Sam: "They were pulling out statistics, 'This is it: 90 percent (chance to) live, 10 percent die,'" she said.
Sam didn’t have time to wait for a perfect transplant match: Doctors prepared to take part of her father Marcos’ liver.
But on July 4, a better match became available, although the Murguia family still doesn’t know anything about the donor, and may never know, unless the donor’s family reaches out.
But Sam woke up from surgery four days later, already feeling stronger and ready to dig back into the work she missed during the last month of school and her summer class work. (Sam, who aspires to attend college in Florida and study marine biology, maintains a 4.0 grade point average.)
She returned to school in October, the soonest doctors would allow her to, following her transplant. She’s gradually been weaned off most of the dozen or so pills she had to take each day.
"Sometimes it was hard, sometimes it was good," Sam said of her recovery process. "Once I got back from Christmas break, I felt better and was strong."
During the summer, while working on classwork in her hospital room, a nurse suggested she’d be a good candidate for receiving a wish from Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles. The organization grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
"Is that money for college?" Sam recalled asking the nurse. Granted wishes can’t be money for college, acceptance to the college of her choice or home renovations (like an extra bedroom so she won’t have to live with her younger sister, Ashley).
But what it could be is a trip to walk in the footsteps of her favorite boy band: The Beatles.
"When I was younger, my grandparents would watch me, and I’d listen to (the Beatles)," Sam said. "My grandma shared pictures of Paul (McCartney): 'Yeah, I think he’s cute.' And she said, 'no, I like George (Harrison).'"
Despite the raised eyebrows she sometimes receives from her peers -- her younger sister’s taste in boy bands runs to One Direction -- Sam’s stuck by the band, with "A Hard Day’s Night" and "Let It Be" being her favorite albums.
On Aug. 12, the family flew to England, to tour the Beatles’ home town of Liverpool, and London, the home of Abbey Road.
"It was so different from this summer to their summer" in England, Murguia said.
Although Sam is young and expected to make a full recovery in time, coming face to face with her own mortality at such a young age has changed her, her mother said.
"She’s not the same teenager she was before," Murguia said. "But I’m trying to get her back."