MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Stephen McNamara has a healthy seven-month-old son. His wife’s cousin in Fergus Falls, Minn. is not so lucky, and as her seven-month-old daughter, Aaliyah Beganovic, lives day to day in wait of a lifesaving liver transplant, McNamara can only fight back the tears at the thought of facing such a tragedy.
“I don’t know what I’d do,” he said. So, rather than letting his imagination get the better of him, the Mahopac resident quickly realized that doing nothing was not an option.
“When I saw a picture of this little girl, I was like, I’ve got to do something,” he said. “So, owning a gym, I knew I could use the connections I have.”
His gym, Crossfit Somers X, held a fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 26. The gym is located at 54 Miller Road in Baldwin Place.
Just after she was born, Aaliyah was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a condition in which the bile ducts in the liver are crippled or broken.
“The wiring that brings the bile in isn’t working so food cannot be broken down,” said McNamara. As a result, doctors have done bypass surgery into the small intestine, but that’s only a patch. “All that does is buy time.”
That doesn’t leave much in the interim, either.
“She’s on a feeding tube and a ton of medication,” he said.
Unfortunately, the uncertainty doesn’t even leave Amanda and Almir Beganovic the peace of staying put.
“Everyday is a guessing game,” McNamara said. “It’s always to and from the hospital.”
Currently, that’s where the expense is and the only load that can be alleviated.
“So far we have raised about $2,000 and we’re aiming for $10,000,” McNamara said.
This leaves the fundraiser at Crossfit Somerx X in search of sponsors with Aaliyah in mind.
“She’s been alive for seven months so each person will do seven exercises for 30 reps,” he said.
Otherwise, it’s really a race against the clock, and because the bile ducts are the problem, a partial liver donation from her mother just doesn’t work.
“She needs the whole package,” he said.
If good fortune befalls and a match arrives, the cost comes in between $25,000 and half-million dollars. Fortunately, a conduit has emerged that won’t keep the goodwill contained.
The Crossfit in Fergus Falls is holding their own fundraiser and so are the gyms in Peekskill, Bedford Hills and Hawthorne. The Yorktown PBA and area businesses are also raising money.
It doesn’t end there, either.
“People all over the country who don’t even know the family are raising money,” McNamara said.
Money, of course, does not ensure an outcome but what it does purchase cannot be priced, according to McNamara.
“It means the world to them,” he said.
Anyone who would still like to donate can visit gofundme.com/aaliyahs-liver-transplant-fund?r=96250.