Sofia & Stefani
Learn more about Family House guests, Sofia, double-lung transplant recipient, and her twin sister Stefani, still awaiting her life-saving transplant.
Twins, Sofia and Stefani Atencio from northern New Jersey, are 11 years old and share a disease called Interstitial Lung Disease. While most children their age are running around and playing, Sofia and Stefani could barely function without having their oxygen.
Sofia’s illness began to progress quicker than Stefani’s and she was placed on the transplant list in 2014. After 15 months on the list, Sofia got ‘the call’ on Easter Sunday in 2016 and received her double lung transplant that same day. She jokes now that the Easter bunny left her new lungs in her Easter basket.
After only a few weeks, Sofia was discharged from the hospital and her recovery continued at the Family House. Sofia was able to use the Family House exercise room to continue her physical therapy and rehabilitation, walking so much further on the treadmill than when she first arrived at the Family House. Now her mom, Elsy, smiles at how much more Sofia can do without her oxygen and that she can finally begin to act like kids are supposed to act at her age.
Shortly after Sofia and her mom checked into the Family House, sister Stefani needed to be hospitalized for issues related to her disease. While Sofia was at the Family House and Stefani was in the hospital, both Elsy and their dad, Walter, as well as other family members, took turns to be with the girls while at the same time trying to maintain their jobs and their bills at home. Thankfully, Stefani was hospitalized for less than a week and was then able to return home, while Sofia remained at the Family House with her mom.
Now both girls are back at home, trying to readjust to their everyday life while Sofia recovers from her gift of life and Stefani continues to wait for hers.
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Thousands of patients come to Philadelphia hospitals every year needing life-saving organ transplants. Many come from out of state or travel great distances. Family House is a refuge for patients and their families who are on this journey.
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