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)



  1. Anthony Soto

    January 28, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    How do you become a possible donor?

  2. Sal

    January 28, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    How can One help?

  3. Javier Morales

    January 28, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Pray and there is a Go Fund Me page set up to help the family. Perhaps someone can help by knowing a potential donor who has passed, as well.

  4. Javier Morales

    January 28, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    No, it is more if someone you know who is an organ donor who may have just passed.

  5. Annette Dalton

    January 29, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Can you share information on his treatment center so people can go donate if they want. Even if you are not a match, maybe they can set up a chain of donors?

  6. Jeremiah Martin

    January 29, 2019 at 10:43 am

    I’m down to donate rn how do I become a donare

  7. Johnny Sullivan

    January 29, 2019 at 10:51 am

    My friend just passed away in Yuma AZ. His name was Nolan Lee Nady, 25 years old. I’m not sure what his blood type was, but I do know he was an organ donor. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  8. Stacy Stowe

    January 29, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Can he be given a portion of a liver from a matching adult? I am O+ and would be tested.

  9. Javier Morales

    January 29, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Unfortunately, Josiah needs a full liver transplant. You’re amazing for offering.

  10. Javier Morales

    January 29, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    I had somebody forward this to Josiah’s dad. Thank you.

  11. Javier Morales

    January 29, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Unfortunately, he needs a full liver transplant. You’re awesome. Thanks.

  12. Javier Morales

    January 29, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    He is at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I can check for contact information.

  13. Anonymous

    January 30, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    May Our Dear Lord Continue to Hold Him in the Palm of His Hands❤️ PRAYERS KISSES n HUGS for Him n His Family❤️

  14. Debbie.

    January 30, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    My husband had a liver transplant 19 years ago and he’s still going strong at 58. Have faith Josiah, we will be praying for you! Steve & Debbie.

  15. martin.b

    February 1, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    He past away today in the morning.

  16. Michael Machado

    February 1, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    RIP Jojo imma miss you kid

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