During this month of April, I want to recognize all the heroic families who donate life. Sixteen years ago my sister, Audrey, and I received transplanted livers from unknown donors. We have each been blessed with additional years to celebrate life with family and friends. Not everyone is so fortunate. I recently joined an international Facebook support group for people with liver disease called “Live, Laugh, and Love Your Liver.” Reading about the triumphs and struggles of others who are so sick pre-transplant and, in many cases, post-transplant I am amazed that we have done so well.
|Heart of Gold Rose|
honors donor families
Many ground breaking scientific advances are being made in the field of organ donation. Two recent articles on FoxNews.com caught my attention. There is an increase in living donor transplants where the donor gives a portion of their liver to the recipient. The risk of organ failure for both the donor and the recipient can be very high and long-term complications are possible. For this reason the living donors must go through three days of intensive physical and mental screening before being accepted. If all goes as planned, a half of the healthy liver replaces the diseased liver. Within four to six weeks the donor’s liver will regenerate to 80 to 90 percent of its original size and the donated half will increase in size and restore liver function in the recipient. Except for some ugly scars and livelong immune suppressing drugs for the recipient, both persons have the potential to live normal lives.
I am also excited to learn that scientists are now transforming human skin cells into mature, fully functioning liver cells. The skin cells are regenerated, using a specific cocktail of reprogramming genes and chemical compounds. The hope for the future is that these healthy cells can be inserted into livers to grow and crowd out the diseased cells. Perhaps in future generations, scientists can grow fully functioning livers, thus completely eliminating the need for donor transplants.
Medical science has come a long way in the sixteen years since my transplant. I continue to pray for the family who made my organ donation possible. A Bible verse from John 15:13 sums it up for me. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (NIV translation)
I am also reminded during this Easter week of an even greater gift—the ultimate life giving gift—when Jesus the Christ lay down His life for our salvation. No greater love!!
My book "Born Three Times: A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love" recounts how I received three amazing gifts and a second chance at life. It's available from Amazon.com in print and ebook formats.
My book "Born Three Times: A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love" tells how I received three amazing gifts and a second chance at life. Available at Amazon.com in soft and ebook