Accomplished Actress Holds Children’s Close to Heart

Best known for her success as Estelle Costanza on Seinfeld, the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise, and many other roles, Estelle Harris is not only an extremely talented actress and comedian, but also family oriented and a donor to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

As Estelle’s family continued to grow, she eventually had grandchildren and now a great-grandchild. Her great grandson, Avery, has had a challenging time during his first two-and-a-half years of life.

Born in September 2014 in New Jersey, Avery was born without complications. When it came time for feeding, however, his parents knew something was not right. He ate the normal amounts, but he had more bowel movements than normal. The soft spot on his head was shrinking.

Nervous, his new parents took Avery to the pediatrician. After three visits, they rushed Avery to their local hospital because he stopped eating all together.

Avery spent the next three and a half months in the neonatal intensive care unit at the family’s local hospital in New Jersey. Avery was eventually diagnosed with microvillus inclusion disease, a rare disease that is life-threatening and prevents the absorption of nutrients from food.

At that time, Avery’s parents made the decision to transfer him to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where a specialty team focused on his care.

With limited options to ensure Avery receives the proper nutrition to gain weight, doctors in Philadelphia recommended the family travel to Pittsburgh to meet with the transplant team at Children’s Hospital.

After meeting with the team in Pittsburgh, Avery was placed on the transplant list to receive a small bowel liver, and pancreas.

As the family waits for the call that these organs are available, doctors in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia continue to monitor Avery.

You can join Estelle in supporting Children’s so that kids like Avery can receive lifesaving medical care. Please visit www.givetochildrens.org/donate.