Liver Transplant: Pete's Story

“Life is a blessing.”

- Peter Cashman, who underwent a liver transplant at UW Hospital and Clinics



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Bears Fan Thankful for Receiving Gift of Life From Packer's Fan (The Chicago Tribune)

Peter Cashman of Chicago, Illinois, and a Chicago Bears football fan, received a liver transplant at UW Hospital and ClinicsPeter Cashman of Chicago received a liver transplant at UW Hospital and Clinics. Those familiar with the legendary football rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will appreciate the unique twist to Cashman's story.


Peter Cashman, a 55-year-old Chicago resident, was suffering from Hepatitis C and would have died had he not received a liver transplant on March 14, 2010. The night before the operation, he told his daughter that he didn't think he would make it.


"I thought I was going to die," Cashman said. "Even when I knew it was coming, the night before I told her, 'I can't do this anymore.' She just told me, 'Dad, just hang on one more day.'"


After much worry, and being put on the transplant list in November 2009, surgeons at UW Hospital were able to successfully transplant his liver.


"I felt like a new man and was sent home in two weeks," he said.


Being from Chicago, Pete is an avid Bear's fan. With help from the UW Organ and Tissue Donation donor/recipient contact process, he was able to connect with his donor's family and found out that the donor was a 32-year-old female Packers fan from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. He exchanged letters with the woman's parents, expressing gratitude for the gift of life and offering his condolences on the death of their beloved daughter, who was a mother of two boys.


Nearly one year after the transplant, he spoke to her mother on the telephone.


"I have had season tickets for the Chicago Bears for over thirty years and I knew my donor was from Wisconsin, so after the Bears lost to the Pack in the Championship game I called and asked her mother if they were Packer fans. The mother said they were big Packer fans and I told her about going to the Championship game," said Cashman. "She laughed and said, 'At least a part of you went home happy.'"


While Cashman was obviously disappointed with the Bears' crushing loss, he was just happy to be back at Soldier Field and thanks to his donor, he could be.


"Thanks to my donor, I was able to see my daughter graduate college and begin her nursing career. I was able to help my son move to Washington D.C. to start an internship for the U.S. Coast Guard. And I could hang with my 11 year old son, what fun! I also celebrated my 25 year wedding anniversary, retired from work and took a much needed vacation. That was just in the first year! Now I feel great and am looking for some part- time work. Life is a blessing."


Pete was also featured in a news story on the Chicago Bears website: "Bears fan thankful for receiving gift of life from Packer's fan"