Living liver donation

Jenny's selfless gift of living liver donation

Jennifer Boudreau portrait

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, Dennis, told them at a wedding.

After she agreed to be evaluated for a liver transplant, Michelle’s immediate family members were all tested, one by one, to see whether they could donate part of their liver to her. But none of them were a match.

Then, Jenny decided to step up. She didn’t even know what her blood type was, but she figured she could at least find out if she was a blood match for her mother-in-law. She was … so she underwent further testing, telling only her husband, Derek. It turned out she was the perfect match for Michelle. “I went back to Derek’s mom and dad and said, ‘I’m a match. Michelle, do you want to do this?’ She was really overwhelmed that any of us were willing to donate part of our liver to her.”

Both mother- and daughter-in-law had their surgeries on March 23, 2017. Jenny was a little apprehensive, since she had never stayed in the hospital or even had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam. But the surgery went well, and she was able to return to work about eight weeks after donation. Michelle did well, too — Jenny and Derek have been thrilled to see her looking so healthy when they visit.

“This is the most selfless thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Jenny. “The whole time I was going through the testing, I felt like I wanted to do this for Michelle.”