Rockford baby's heart beats in N.Y. infant

Today show spotlights another Rockford heroine

In a bittersweet tale of courage overcoming sorrow, one family’s tragedy has become another family’s salvation, as a generous Rockford mother reached out to someone in need. The story links Rockford, to New York in a baby-to-baby mission of mercy. And the Today show was there to record it.

According to a New York Daily News report of April 13, 2005, Jordan Zane Trimarchi was born Jan. 18, 2005 at NYU Medical Center, where his breathing problems became apparent soon after his birth. Doctors found that he had a tumor almost as big as his heart that caused him to be put on life support for five days while his anxious parents worried and waited.

Meanwhile, halfway across the country in Rockford, another tragic scenario was unfolding. On Jan. 21, little Breanna Loomis, 2-1/2 years old, was taken to Rockford Memorial Hospital with injuries that would prove to be fatal. The cause was later determined to be consistent with “shaken baby syndrome,” and Breanna’s father, Corey Loomis, is now facing criminal charges for aggravated battery in her death.

Shortly after her arrival at the hospital, Breanna was placed on life support. After a few days, Nicole Barton, Breanna’s mother, was told the prognosis was grim and that if Breanna did survive, she would likely be severely brain damaged. Then the medical staff asked if Nicole would consider donating Breanna’s organs in the event she did not survive. Barton unhesitatingly gave her consent. On Jan. 25, Breanna was diagnosed as brain dead when it was determined that she could not breathe on her own.

The life support was discontinued, and little Breanna’s organs were offered for donation. A match was found, and the Trimarchis in New York were notified that a heart was available for their son. On Jan. 26, Breanna’s heart was transplanted into Jordan Zane, now the youngest patient ever to receive a heart transplant.

Story on ‘Breanna’s Page’

“She gave us back our son and our dream,” said a grateful Sadaf Trimarchi, Jordan’s mother, at a North Shore University Hospital event in Manhasset commemorating National Organ & Tissue Awareness Month. Although Jordan must remain on immuno-suppressants so his body will not reject the heart, and other medications to counter side effects, the baby is otherwise healthy, said his father Jeff.

A Web page called “Breanna’s Page” has been set up at “Sadaf and I constantly reflect on the enormity of Nicole’s gesture. In the midst of her own devastating tragedy, she was able to be so generous, so strong, and so selfless. There is no greater gift that one person can give to another than the gift of life,” said Jeff Trimarchi.

Breanna’s mother, Nicole Barton, could not be contacted by time of publication.

Memorial fund established

A memorial fund has been established in Breanna’s name to help offset some remaining expenses from her hospitalization and funeral arrangements. Checks may be made out and sent to: Breanna Loomis Memorial Fund, c/o Alpine Bank of Illinois, P.O. Box 6086, Rockford, IL 61125. Or call (815) 398-6500.

Breanna’s lifesaving transplant was featured on NBC’s Today show the morning of May 9. The case is reminiscent of an earlier organ transplant that originated in Rockford. Angela Rushford, 5, received a kidney transplant from David Harper of Mt. Morris as a result of a classified ad that ran in The Rock River Times. This story was also featured on the Today show on Jan. 15, 2003.

From the May 11-17, 2005, issue

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