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'It means hope': Globe mom who couldn't afford life-saving operation heads to Mexico for transplant

Lilly Machado's community raised more than $140,000 for her to get a life-saving liver transplant. But hospitals here still won't do the surgery for her.

GLOBE, Ariz. — The hallway leading out of the hospital at Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center in Globe echoed with cheers and claps as staff wheeled out Lilly Machado Wednesday evening.

“Without them, this miracle, it was not going to be possible,” Lilly said as she sat in the passenger seat of an SUV outside of the hospital.

The people of Globe lined the streets cheering, holding signs, and wishing Lilly well.

“It means the world to me – them having my back,” Lilly said.

It’s the latest show of support the community has done for Lilly, who’s served them for years as a waitress at a local Mexican restaurant.

“I will be always grateful because they’re helping to save my life,” Lilly said.

Doctors told Lilly she has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

A transplant is the only option to save her life, but she doesn’t have insurance.

“It’s definitely been a long, hard journey,” Jackie Machado, Lilly’s daughter said.

RELATED: 'I need a big miracle': Globe woman can't afford transplant needed to save her life

Lilly’s doctors told her she needed $50,000 upfront to prove she could cover the full price of the procedure, which is nearly $500,000

So the community raised more than $140,000 through a GoFundMe to help her get the life-saving procedure.

“They told us we were still short and then with my mom’s health declining, we made the tough decision to send her to Mexico to get it done,” Jackie said.

The money raised is enough to cover the transplant in Mexico and the drugs needed after the transplant to make it successful. For now, organizers have paused the GoFundMe since they have enough funds.

“If we’re not going to be able to get help here, then we’ll go somewhere else to where the help is,” Jackie said.

Jackie said Lilly could get a new liver as soon as next week.

“It means hope because I was about to lose my hope,” Lilly said.

She’s leaving for Mexico on Thursday and is taking the strength of the community with her.

“I’m going to fight. I’m going to fight, I swear,” Lilly said. “As hard as I can until the end.”

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