After waiting 100 days, teen gets life-saving heart transplant

CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) -- Albert Jeffries, IV, or "Alj" as he prefers to be called, has been in and out of UNC Children's Hospital ever since he was born 13 years ago, but that will hopefully soon change.

The teen underwent a life-saving heart transplant surgery Thursday morning after waiting on the transplant list for over 100 days.

"He has a primary disorder regarding a metabolism of his heart and the biochemical function of his heart. As a result of that, his heart is not strong, it does not contract well, nor does it relax well between beats," explains his UNC Pediatric Cardiologist, Scott Buck, MD.

Alj's mom, Tina Turner, said Alj is out of surgery and doing well. She said the surgery was a success.

"I trust you and I know you are going to do a good job," Alj reportedly told doctors before his surgery.

In December when ABC11 interviewed Alj and his mom, Tina Turner, Dr. Buck said that the good news was that should a suitable heart come along, his prognosis was very good.

"That is the great news in all of this, that the outcome after pediatric heart transplants, it's really, remarkably good. These children not only survive, they thrive," Buck said.

Still, it comes at the expense of another's loss, something young Alj is all too aware of, and doesn't take lightly.


"I'm just hoping that they'll give me the heart, to find the right heart, but it's gonna be really hard for me. I'm going to be really sad, because some little kid will have had to have sacrificed their life for me, and I don't want that to happen. But it's the only way I can live," he said, with a note of sadness in his voice.

His mother agreed, and added that she would never wish for another parent to lose their child, but hopes that others will consider giving the gift of organ donation. Turner and Alj are both signed up as donors.

"I just want him to have some normalcy. I want him to be able to ride his bike run down the street, or just run and run forever and not feel like he has to stop or get scared. I just want life for him to be renewed again," she said.


For more on being an organ donor:


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