Tucson Youth Sports

Local Middle School Wrestler in Need of Immediate Liver Transplant

Sierra Middle School sixth-grader Josiah “Jojo” Armstrong, a standout wrestler for the school, has been moved from a local hospital to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital because it was discovered recently that his liver is failing.

Armstrong was hospitalized in Tucson last week. His liver was diagnosed to be at 20 percent normal functionality, according to Sierra coach and educator Terrence Valerani-Knoblich.

Josiah’s father told Valerani-Knoblich that his son has acute liver failure and is in need of a full liver transplant.

“He is in need of an immediate transplant,” Valerani-Knoblich communicated to me. “He may not make it much longer. They have moved him up the list for a donor. He is a truly amazing student. My wife is his sixth grade history teacher. My friends are his wrestling coaches.”

Josiah “Jojo” Armstrong

Josiah and brother James, who is in the eighth grade, are both accomplished wrestlers. James won a state championship over the weekend in Prescott.

“Jojo is a hard working kid in the class room and on the mat,” Sierra wrestling coach Raul Moraga said. “He’s ranked nationally at his weight class and age group. He’s as tough as they come. But everyone needs help in life.”

An Armstrong family member has created a Go Fund Me page to help the family with expenses while they tend to their son in Phoenix.

“The family is staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix,” Valerani-Knoblich stated. “It’s bad. He needs a donor yesterday — O+ blood type. There’s literally nothing more we can do but pray. Pray a donor comes up.”

James Armstrong won a state title in the Arizona Junior High State Championships this weekend at Prescott (Armstrong family photo)

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