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Rites Held for Boy Who Had 2 Heart Transplants

July 07, 1986|From staff and wire reports

SAN ANTONIO — About 200 people gathered to say goodby to 3-year-old "Baby Nicky," who lost his fight for life after two heart transplants at Loma Linda University Medical Center, including one heart believed donated by a Fullerton girl.

Rudy Nicholas Carrizales was eulogized at Saturday services by a family friend for his persistent courage and good nature.

"He kept the pure soul of God. He was a model of patience, of courage, of love," Robert Rosa said.

Nicky died Wednesday after undergoing two heart transplants within 24 hours last month at the Loma Linda University Medical Center.

He had been in critical condition since June 18, when the first transplant operation was performed, but had shown signs of improvement last week before his sudden death from what doctors believe was a fast-moving lung infection.

Parents of Allison McClennen, 2, of Fullerton, whose heart was donated to Loma Linda after she died in a hit-and-run traffic accident in front of her home, contend that Baby Nicky received their daughter's heart during the first transplant.

William and Kathy McClennen are certain doctors transplanted their daughter's organ, despite no confirmation from medical authorities, who cited a policy of confidentiality regarding donors and recipients.

"It's hers," Kathy McClennen said. "I know it."

At the services, Baby Nicky's three older sisters--Jeanine, Melissa and Celeste--sat by their parents near the small, white coffin at Sunset Memorial Cemetery Saturday, each gripping a thin vase that held a red rose.

Evangelist J. Paul Tisdel said: "These children have a message I think you should hear."

Tisdel, joined by a group of children, including the three sisters, then sang "Jesus Loves Me."

Nicky's mother, Mary Lou Carrizales, smiled at the children as they returned to their seats.

The family still faces a huge medical bill that may amount to $400,000, according to officials with Project ABC, an organization that assists families with seriously ill children.

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