Marissa Minjarez is the daughter of John and Hong Minjarez.  Born on November 22, 1997, she was diagnosed with Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC) Type 1. PFIC-1 is caused by a variety of rare mutations in a gene coding enzyme that is responsible for a biological process. It was previously identified as clinical entities known as Byler's disease and Greenland-Eskimo familial cholestasis. How this mutation leads to cholestasis is not yet well understood. The onset of the disease is usually before age 2, but Marissa was tested before birth and was diagnosed with PFIC-1 on the day of birth. In early childhood Marissa presented cholestasis, jaundice, and failure to thrive. Before age one she had a surgery to implant a biliary diversion. She also has a fat malabsorption which can lead to fat soluble vitamin deficiency, and complications, including osteopenia. The PFIC-1 is currently deteriorating her liver and due to this the doctors at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center have recommended a life-saving liver transplant which is estimated at $45,000.

            On an interview with News10, Marissa speaks about being a freshman at Bear Creek High school and says “I don’t get to do sports, I didn’t get to take AP classes, I don’t get to go out with my friends as much as I would like. So yeah, it’s not easy”. PCIF-1 has affected Marissa in many ways. Although she loves fashion, friends and one day aspires to be on her high school cheerleading squad, she is limited. This progressive liver disease leaves Marissa fatigue and emotional unable to maintain enough energy for regular daily tasks. Our family is praying for a donor match, so Marissa can live a healthy life. We are very appreciative of all the help we will receive along the way, including the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA), who has allowed our family to successfully raise money in honor of Marissa. Although we have many volunteers raising funds for transplant patients like our beloved Marissa, we still need your assistance you can find more information on the “How You Can Help” link to the left. Thank you in advance!