Stormie Jones, the spunky 13-year-old girl who made medical history in 1984 by becoming the first person to receive a new heart and liver in a single operation, was eulogized Saturday as a pioneer whose courage will pave the way for other lives to be saved.
Friends and family gathered for Stormie's funeral at the West Freeway Church of Christ in the Fort Worth suburb where Stormie lived. A private graveside service followed.During the service church Deacon Jerry Conley remembered Stormie as a person who touched the lives of people not only near her but around the world. He praised her for her willingness to go through a procedure that made her a pioneer in medicine, paving the way for future medical breakthroughs and new lives saved.
"Stormie's not gone, she's just out of out sight," Conley told the mourners."God has promised her a home. She has now claimed her citizenship."
Stormie died Sunday at Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, where she was being treated for complications related to her transplant. She had been suffering from a sore throat and fever, and doctors suspected she had a slight case of the flu.
But an autopsy performed after her unexpected death showed a sudden rejection of the heart surgeons had placed in her body in 1984, along with a new liver. The surgery was the first time the two organs had been transplanted in a single operation.
Since the transplant, the freckle-faced Stormie had suffered several bouts of hepatitis, including one serious enough to force a second liver transplant earlier this year.
White Settlement Mayor James Herring presented a formal declaration, designating Stormie as "one of the city's honored citizens."
Other speakers expressed thanks to "the doctors, the community, and the friends and supporters who had helped Stormie during her 6 1/2 year struggle for life."