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Fundraising Campaign to Help 16-Year-Old with Cost of New Heart

Emily Progin, Content Manager / 800.642.8399


“He Seems to Bring Joy to Everyone Around Him”

DALY CITY, Calif.—At just 16 years old, optimistic and kind-hearted Frederick Tusiga has been through more medical battles than most people face in a lifetime. Fred is currently recovering from a life-changing heart transplant in April. His community is coming together to help offset critical post-transplant recovery costs through a medical fundraising campaign with the trusted national nonprofit Help Hope Live.

Fred was born and raised in American Samoa. In 2015, life changed for Fred and his family as doctors noticed a growing lesion in his brain. A specialist in Hawaii diagnosed him with DNET—a low-grade, non-cancerous brain tumor that leads to seizures. Fred underwent life-saving surgery in 2015 in Hawaii to remove most of the lesion.

Just seven years later in 2022, Fred was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with heart failure. Because Hawaii could not offer ample resources for pediatric heart failure and heart transplant patients, Fred and his mother located to the Bay Area in November 2022, supported by an aunt and uncle in the area. His support system is still primarily located in American Samoa, including his father, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Fred received a heart transplant in April 2023 at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

“We were filled with tears as a new chapter of life began,” explained mom Masina. “But unexpected barriers and challenges continue to arise.”

Despite all his medical challenges, Masina said, “Fred is optimistic, kind-hearted, bright, and goofy. He seems to bring joy to everyone around him.”

Transportation, lodging, and other post-transplant expenses have added up quickly for his family. A heart transplant can cost over $1.6 million. Many costs are not fully covered by insurance, especially when medical relocation is necessary to the recovery process.

To help with this overwhelming financial burden, Fred’s family started a medical fundraising campaign with the national nonprofit Help Hope Live.

Donations can be made at:

Unlike a GoFundMe campaign, donations to Help Hope Live are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and all funds raised will be managed by the nonprofit to cover verified medical and related expenses. Help Hope Live verifies medical and financial need for every patient.

Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $172 million to pay patient expenses. ###

Written by Emily Progin