Sarah McPharlin
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  Spring 2017
Sarah earns her Master's degree at Wayne State

Sarah graduates with a
Master's of Occupational Therapy Degree
from Wayne State University.

  Spring 2014
Sarah earns her degree at MSU

Sarah graduates
with a B.S. in Kinesiology
from Michigan State University.
Another major goal achieved!

  Fall 2012
Sarah works toward her degree at MSU

Sarah is now in her senior year at MSU where she continues to achieve academically as well as socially, enjoying her collegiate life at State. Sarah anticipates graduating in spring, 2014.

  Fall 2011
Sarah marks tenth anniversary of receiving Gift of Life

As Sarah put it on October 22nd, "Ten years out and still running strong!" She marked the tenth anniversary of becoming a heart transplant recipient by thanking her donor family, her family members, friends and health care team members "who have made my journey such a remarkable experience!" Sarah spent that evening with a few thousand friends at Spartan Stadium watching Michigan State pull off a thrilling last-play-of-the-game victory over previously undefeated Wisconsin. The 22-year-old spent several weeks in Children's Hospital during the year as her medical team treated a fluid build up issue that has required eliminating virtually all fats from Sarah's diet. (That's especially tough when you work at the MSU Dairy Store!) During the year, Sarah made one trip to Florida for a visit with Mickey and friends, a second trip to Florida for a wedding, spent time Up North and vacationed in Boston and on Cape Cod.
Easter Dinner Emily, Sarah and Sparty Studying at MSU
    Sarah and friend

    Updates will be posted here and at
    (note: some corporate web browsers, including Chrysler, block twitter and similar sites, so the detailed updates may not be viewable in those instances.)

      Summer 2010
    Sarah competes in her third U.S. Transplant Games

    Sarah again demonstrated her drive and competitive spirit during this summer's U.S. Transplant Games in Madison, Wisconsin. She took the gold in tennis and was also a key player on the Team Michigan squad that won the gold medal in basketball. Sarah blogged about the games for the Children's Hospital of Michigan website which may be viewed by clicking this link. Sarah-Transplant Games 2010

    Updates will be posted here and at
    (note: some corporate web browsers, including Chrysler, block twitter and similar sites, so the detailed updates may not be viewable in those instances.)

      Summer 2009
    Sarah Successfully Undergoes New Surgery

    Sarah underwent major open chest surgery at Children's Hospital on Wednesday, July 22nd. Doctors were very pleased with the outcome and Sarah's post surgery progress. Four days after the surgery, Sarah was moved out of the ICU and into a step-down unit and just under three weeks following the surgery, on August 10th, Sarah returned home.
    Sarah-Summer 2009 Doctors repaired a tricuspid heart valve which was not functioning properly. As a result of the valve problems, Sarah's right upper heart chamber had become significantly enlarged. That required the team led by Dr. Hal Walters to surgically reduce the size of the chamber to a normal dimension. In addition, doctors replaced Sarah's pacemaker and re-routed the pacemaker line. The improperly functioning tricuspid valve had created serious health and quality of life issues for Sarah in recent months.

    Successful completion of these procedures should, according to her medical team, allow Sarah to again fully participate in her many activities, and Sarah did just that. She returned to East Lansing in time for the resumption of classes in the fall at MSU. In addition to classes and work, Sarah added membership in the MSU Nursing Student Association to her many extracurricular activities.

      Spring 2009
    Sarah Completes first year at Michigan State

    The first year at Michigan State University proved to be a wonderful experience for Sarah.
    She lived away from home, made new friends, advanced academically, worked in the MSU retail dairy store, and generally participated in college life.
    Sarah has also spent some time as a volunteer at Children's Hospital and will face additional surgery there this summer. Doctors plan to replace a tricuspid valve which is not functioning properly in Sarah's heart.
    While the procedure is major, Sarah fully intends to return to her active lifestyle in time for the resumption of classes this fall.

      Summer 2008
    Sarah Graduates from High School

    A big milestone in any life -- high school graduation. In addition to graduating from Grosse Pointe North High School, Sarah achieved another goal in being accepted for admission at Michigan State University.

    Graduation Photo
    Sarah with parents and Dr. and Mrs. Hal Walters
    Dianne, Sarah, Dr. and Mrs. Hal Walters, and Jim at High School Graduation Party
    (click to view larger photo)

    While in high school, Sarah received a varsity letter in track. She will again be going to the U.S. Transplant Games scheduled this summer in Pittsburgh and plans to volunteer as a counselor at the University of Michigan summer camp for transplant recipients before heading off to college.

    Read All About It Free Press Tennis Story
    WJR story about Sarah's Graduation

      Summer 2007
    Sarah Goes to Europe as Special Ambassador
    Sarah's Europe Group
    Sarah was invited to join the People to People Student Ambassador Program this summer.

    When Sarah was nominated by her teachers and counselors at school to go to Europe this summer as a Student Ambassador, Jim and Dianne were more than a little concerned.
    It would be a wonderful opportunity for Sarah, but what if something happened so far from home and so far from the team that has supported her at Children's Hospital of Michigan.
    The doctors, nurses and staff came up with a plan: They would contact facilities from Paris to Athens where the group would be traveling to alert them in the event of an emergency. The rest of the family would also go to Europe, but separately and with the promise to always stay a distance behind Sarah's student group.
    As you can see from the smiles in the photos, Sarah headed off to Europe. A day later, June 23, Jim, Dianne, Katie and Emily flew to Paris to begin their vacation.
    It turns out the advance arrangements were a good idea. Sarah became dehydrated while on the flight and shortly after visiting the Eiffel Tower began to suffer an adverse reaction. She checked into a hospital. Mom and Dad arrived and after a period of observation, all was quickly under control again.
    Let the travels resume.
    Its off to other parts of France and to Italy and Greece as well!

      Summer 2006
    Sarah Wins Gold on Team Michigan at U.S. Transplant Games
    Sarah's A Champion
    Sarah carried the banner for Team Michigan and came away with the gold at the U.S. Transplant Games last summer (2006) in Louisville, Kentucky.
    Sarah, who quickly resumed a full schedule following successful brain surgery in the summer of 2005 to curtail seizures, took the top honors for her age group in the tennis competition.

    No question, she's a champion!
    Check Sarah's latest update for more information and to read her personal letter about preparing for the Transplant Games.
      What's News

    Another Good Thing About a New Heart...
   The Friends You Make 


    Sarah's Successful Transplant Surgery
    Took Place on October 22, 2001

    While new challenges created complications, on January 11, 2002 Sarah achieved a milestone as she went home from the hospital.
    In the Spring, Sarah was able to return to school on a limited basis
    and during the Summer, her activities increased to include soccer and swimming!

    In the fall of 2002, Sarah returned to school full time
    and celebrated her 13th birthday playing with her soccer team.
    In spring 2003, Sarah received a Make-A-Wish trip. Sarah's wish: go to Hawaii with her family, where she made friends with a dolphin.

    (October, 2002 - Playing Soccer Again)

    The McPharlin Family Web Site

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