After childhood liver transplant, Valeria Tokajer is all grown up

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People did everything to raise money for little Valeria Tokajer. She needed a liver transplant to stay alive and her parents' insurance wouldn't cover the cost.  

They raised funds at football games, wrestling matches, and concerts. When a liver was found, her parents rushed her to Pittsburgh for a transplant, but instead they got devastating news.

"We were told the liver they found for Valerie was too small and they weren't able to do the transplant," said Valerie's father, who was a young Bradenton police officer in 1989, when Valeria got sick.

Now he's the police chief in nearby Holmes Beach. People still ask about his daughter.

"You can tell that they're a little hesitant at times because they're not sure if things continued to go well after the transplant," says Tokajer.

As it turned out, a liver was finally located. Valerie spent a lot of time in doctors' offices and the hospital, but the good news is, if you want to know what ever happened to Valerie, you can ask her.

"I have my bachelor's degree in health care administration and I've been married for nine and a half years now," Valerie said.

She's now 29 and has a daughter of her own. Her name is Aniston and she's just about the same age as Valerie when we met her as a 2-year-old so many years ago.

"I'm working at Manatee Memorial Hospital, coincidentally where I was born," Valerie smiles.

She says she remains grateful to her parents and people across our area who came together to raise money to save her life.