Former Miss La Paz County Alyson Tozer is to receive a new set of lungs Thursday.
Alyson has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs, and also the pancreas, liver, and intestine. It affects the body’s ability to process some components in the body, leading to repeated lung infections and cysts. Alyson underwent daily treatment at home for the condition, and has been hospitalized many times at Phoenix Children’s Hospital over the years, her ‘home away from home’.
This time, the accumulated damage to her lungs was more severe, leading to her admission last week at the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. After consultation with a team of doctors, Alyson was placed on the database for a transplant earlier this week and transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix in anticipation of receiving a match for her.
Her parents, Richard and Teresa Tozer, who both work at Arizona Western College in Parker, have temporarily found accommodations near the hospital where Alyson will be receiving her transplant today.
Family and friends of Alyson sent messages of support, thoughts and prayers to her Facebook page early Thursday upon hearing the news of her major surgery, which is scheduled for around noon. The messages included many which mentioned the inspiration many people are taking from Alyson and her journey:
“You are honestly the strongest, most brave girl I will ever know. I am so beyond happy for you to start your journey with your new lungs!”
“Your Miss Arizona family is here and praying.”
“Aly has always been such a beautiful young lady, and a miracle!”
“New lungs, new life! So excited about where you will go and who you will inspire. You are my hero and an inspiration to many.”
“I am so proud of this beautiful young woman. She truly is an inspiration. I have learned so much from Aly Tozer that words cannot describe.”
In addition, many Facebook users who know Alyson changed their profile pictures to the ‘Sixty-Five Roses’ artwork (pictured below), to signify solidarity with Alyson as she undergoes the procedure. Sixty-five roses is a nickname for cystic fibrosis.
Alyson herself commented earlier this week:
“We found an amazing rehab place to stay during our time here. Although I’m very scared, I am so very excited for this journey!! I seriously have the most amazing parents someone could ever ask for. This will be the biggest step I have taken in my life, and I’m going in positive and strong. Knowing I have some of the best doctors, surgeons, teams, parents, and community support, I know I can do this!”
Alyson’s recovery is expected to last for several months. Parker Live will update with reports of her progress.