Living Liver Patient Stories

Don Richards and his daughter Jeri

Following are just a few of the many stories shared by generous living liver donors and grateful liver recipients.


Tommy and Sydney's Story


Tommy Sullivan donated part of his liver to save the life of his sister, Sydney. A year later they're both back in the gym at full strength, enjoying CrossFit and the knowledge that they can both enjoy a long, happy and healthy life.


Learn about Tommy and Sydney's Story


More Living Liver Donation Stories


Casey McDermott 

Casey's Story


Casey McDermott of Fort Collins, Colo., proved himself to be one in a million when he donated part of his liver to a family friend's sister. He was the first person to undergo the procedure without opiates, and he was able to return to classes at Colorado State University just two and a half weeks after surgery. His decision to help someone in need hasn't slowed him down at all - in fact, he is even more motivated to stay in shape.


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Landen Wilke 

Landen's Story


Landen Wilke didn't want his parents to worry about his aunt, who had liver disease and needed a living liver donor. Both his mother and father were tested but unable to donate to her. So, he took a day off from lineman school and traveled to University Hospital to see if he was a match, and he was. Landen donated part of his liver to his aunt and was back in class just three weeks later. Now, he's newly married and a lineman apprentice with a bright future ahead of him.


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Living liver donor Brian Forrest, right, with his transplant recipient and first cousin, Richard Gillette.

Brian's Story


Brian Forrest didn't know a person could donate part of his liver to another person, but when his cousin, Richard, was sick with end-stage liver disease, Brian heard about living liver donation so he decided to undergo testing. He was a match and the two men underwent surgery to transplant part of Brian's liver into Richard. Brian's liver grew back in just weeks, and the experience has brought their family even closer.


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Sam donated part of his liver to his daughter Aviva through a living liver transplant at UW Health

Sam and Aviva's Story


Eleven years ago, Sam Gellman was sure he was going to lose his 14-year-old daughter, Aviva. Within just a week she was diagnosed with liver disease and was admitted to American Family Children's Hospital in a delirious state because of toxins entering her bloodstream. Her only chance was to receive a liver transplant from a living donor - and Sam happened to be a perfect match.


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Patti donated part of her liver to her brother

Patti's Story


For Patti Jackson, the hardest part about becoming a living liver donor was not the surgery itself - it was convincing her brother and recipient to let her do it. As it turned out, the surgeries went well and now Patti has become a resource for other potential living liver donors.


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Alex donated part of his liver to his mother

Alex's Story


Alex Potratz is not the kind of guy who becomes agitated very easily. So, when he saw that his mother was becoming more and more ill with cirrhosis and would eventually need a new liver, he was very calm about what he felt needed to happen - he wanted to donate part of his liver to her.


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Jenny donated part of her liver t0 her mother-in-law

Jenny's  Story


Jenny Boudreau's mother-in-law, Michelle, was sick with liver disease for several years. Her family had no idea just how sick she was until her husband told them at a wedding. After the immediate family members were tested and did not match, Jenny decided to be evaluated to see if she could help. And she was the perfect match for Michelle.


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Meiyee and family 

Meiyee's Story


During the summer of 2015, Yimeng and Shaonan Chen believed they would need to say goodbye to their baby daughter Meiyee. After taking her to American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison at the beginning of the summer, they learned she had biliary atresia, which meant the bile ducts from her liver were not formed.


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Rebeca Vaisberg de Lustgarten received a liver transplate in 2015

Rebeca's Story


Some say family is a warm blanket that surrounds us when we are most vulnerable. For Rebeca Vaisberg de Lustgarten of Caracas, Venezuela, that aphorism was never more evident than when she needed a liver transplant to fight cancer in the bial duct in 2015.


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Gene Johnston donated part of his liver to his brother Jack

Gene and Jacks's Story


Brothers Jack and Gene Johnston of Illinois grew up having a close relationship. They share home projects, and enjoy golfing and taking Caribbean vacations together. While on a recent vacation, Gene noticed that Jack's health seemed to be rapidly declining. 


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Share Your Story


If you've personally experienced an organ transplant or are a living donor, you can assist others by sharing your story. Learn how