Stroller Spotlight: Marla

Stroller Spotlight: Marla

Woman standing behind a table covered in vases of flowers, with

Meet Marla, a 10-year participant in the Stroll For Liver, an experience we invite you to register for today. Her dedication to the Stroll reflects the gratitude she feels everyday. 

A recipient of two liver transplants, this Calgarian single mom often reflects on her own blessings and the profound needs of others with liver disease. 

Unknowingly born with neo-natal hepatitis, Marla was diagnosed at two, with the news she may not survive. Fortunately, medication allowed life to resume until, at 17, she learned she had cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and needed a transplant. 

She received the transplant at 18, and for the next 20 years lived well, attending college, building a career and having three daughters. 

But a year and a half ago, tests revealed her cirrhosis had returned. On Christmas Eve 2020 Marla was told she needed a second transplant – which she received in Edmonton on December 8th 2021. That day, a moment she recalls as one of grace: while being wheeled to the ER, she saw a nurse hanging Christmas lights, like an angel placing beacons of hope. 

A 14-week hospital stay followed, but she was never alone. For support her mother moved to Edmonton, as her family held down the fort in Calgary helping with childcare and fundraising to aid with life’s necessities.  

Marla returned home with a renewed view on life. As she says, “You forget how vastly things can change, going from death’s door to life’s joy – car pools, outings, the little things I now see as the thrill of everyday life.”

To Marla, the Stroll is a force for awareness to de-stigmatize liver disease, build healthier behaviours, and get more people talking about research and organ donation. 

This year’s Stroll will be virtual, with Canadians participating in their own way (any physical activity counts), then sharing their experiences August 28. Marla looks forward to walking Calgary’s Memorial Drive, taking in the beautiful Rockies and the feeling of gratitude she hopes others awaiting transplants can enjoy much sooner than later. Will you join her?

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