Liam Semple, 4, on the day of his heart transplant Aug. 13. Photo Courtesy of Becky Bunker

Liam got his heart, now he needs a healthier home

MARIAVILLE — Liam Lewis Semple, the boy from Mariaville battling a serious heart condition, was the recipient of a heart transplant Aug. 13.

Since the surgery, he is doing “amazing,” said his grandmother, Becky Bunker, the joy apparent in her voice during a phone interview. She explained that the dark circles under Liam’s eyes and the rivers of blue veins in his forehead have faded since receiving the healthy heart.

“You should see all the color he has,” Bunker said.

While Liam continues to recover at the Boston Children’s Hospital — he is currently experiencing a bout of delirium — the next goal for his family and loved ones is to raise enough funds to get a new house built for him, one that is a safe and healthy place for him to continue to heal and be a 4-year-old kid.

While he may be discharged from the hospital as early as next week, Liam will still have to visit his doctor in Boston at least once per week for about three to six months, said Liam’s father, Gabe.

The family is looking into programs that will assist with housing for Liam and his mother, Jamie Brzozowski, in the Boston area while he attends his post-op appointments.

Jamie has been by Liam’s bedside since last September when he entered the hospital following a heart valve complication that required an unplanned surgery. He had been waiting for a heart transplant until the family got the call that a heart was available Aug. 12.

Meanwhile, Gabe has been working at The Home Depot and helping take care of the couple’s daughter, Maleah, while also traveling to Boston to visit his son.

Liam before his heart transplant. His grandmother, Becky Bunker, says the dark circles under the 4-year-old’s eyes have faded since receiving his new heart.
Photo Courtesy Jamie Brzozowski

Gabe said last year that the family fell behind on bills and has struggled with the upkeep of their home, including issues with mold, which makes it unsuitable for Liam and his medical needs.

Last year, Peter Jordan, of Jordan Ridge Builders, began planning how he and other local contractors could volunteer their labor to build the Semple family a new home, one that accommodates Liam’s needs, such as an air exchanger to provide quality circulation and enough space to store medical supplies.

Since the initial development of that plan, prices for lumber and building materials have continued to skyrocket due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The family will now need to raise about $70,000 to $80,000 for materials before crews from Jordan and other local contractors can take over the building process, Jordan explained.

Bunker said the family is planning to hold spaghetti dinners and is gathering donations for a benefit yard sale.

This year, Mike Clark’s Turn & Burn, a benefit event created in honor of Clark, who passed away from cancer, will donate proceeds to Liam’s cause. The two-day event, to be held Aug. 27 and 28, is located at 151 Gilpin Road, Orland, and includes music, food and a silent auction. On Aug. 28, a motorcycle ride will be held. Riders can meet at Jerry’s Hardware in Bucksport with registration starting at 9:30 a.m. before the 11 a.m. ride.

Those who would like to contribute to the family’s new home can also donate to the Liam Lewis Semple Benefit Account with the First National Bank.

Additionally, a Go Fund Me account has been set up, called Bring Liam Home. So far, $5,550 of the initial $10,000 goal has been raised.

To learn more, contact Becky Bunker at 479-3602 or visit the Liam Lewis Our Heart Warrior page on Facebook.

Rebecca Alley

Rebecca Alley

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Rebecca is the Schoodic-area reporter and covers the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Lamoine, Sorrento, Sullivan, Waltham, Winter Harbor and Trenton. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband and baby boy who was joyously welcomed in June 2020. Feel free to send tips and story ideas to [email protected]

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