Double donor

Tetra donates part of her liver after donating kidney

Woman wearing glass and smiling.

When Tetra Haile’s brother-in-law experienced kidney failure, she didn’t hesitate: After undergoing extensive testing at the UW Health Transplant Center, she donated one of her kidneys to him in September 2020.

“It was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I had to be in the hospital all by myself,” Tetra said. “But everybody at UW Health was amazing. They were so kind and knowledgeable, and made sure I had all the information I needed.”

Afterward, Tetra joined several online living donor support groups and met others who had donated part of their liver. Then, she attended UW Health’s annual Living Donor Ceremony, during which living kidney and liver donors were invited to stand up for recognition. There were significantly fewer people who stood up as a liver donor.

“There are so many people who are waiting for a liver transplant, and I knew that living donors were really needed,” Tetra said. “So, I decided to get tested.”

The first time Tetra applied to be a living liver donor; transplant caregivers told her she couldn’t do it because her kidney levels weren’t high enough to compensate for the loss of part of her liver. Tetra started eating better and drinking more water, and several months later, she got tested again. This time, caregivers told her, her numbers were good enough that they felt comfortable allowing her to donate.

Tetra became a double living donor on Dec. 6, 2023.

While she was in the hospital, Tetra struggled with anxiety and other mental difficulties. “I will say it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she said. “I didn’t have much pain because they did a nerve block, but it was basically a mental game.”

Still, Tetra has no regrets whatsoever about the decision she made to be a double donor. “I live by the motto, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’” she said. “I’m healthy, and I don’t plan on having kids. It just seemed like the right thing to do. It helped to give my life some meaning.”