Living Liver Donor Program

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Living Donation Class

You're invited to our daily living donation session. Learn more

The UW Health Transplant Program is a national leader in the field of transplantation. The UW Health Transplant Program was a pioneer in reduced-liver transplants for children and first began to perform reduced liver transplants in 1989.  The first adult-to-adult live donor liver transplant was performed at University Hospital in 1999.
Tommy Sullivan donated part of his liver to save his sister, Sydney
Pictured: Tommy Sullivan donated part of his liver to save his sister, Sydney. Learn about their story.
There are more than 300 patients on the waitlist for a liver transplant in Wisconsin and nearly 14,000 in the nation. The waiting list for liver transplants is continually changing as the most severe patients are always being placed at the top of the list.
While the average wait time for seriously-ill patients listed with the UW Health liver transplant program tends to be lower than other programs in the region, patients with less severe disease may have a significant wait time. Receiving a living donor liver transplant provides an advantage compared to remaining on the transplant waiting list because those patients are transplanted before becoming seriously ill.
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Patient Stories


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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Landen donated part of his liver to his aunt

Landen's Story


In the fall of 2016, Landen had a lot of good things going for him - a serious relationship, working toward a degree in a field he loved. But then he learned his aunt was seriously ill with a liver disease and both his mother and father were tested, but unable to donate. So he decided to see if he would be a match. And he was.


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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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Avivia received a transplant after being diagnosed with a liver disease.

Aviva's Story


Fourteen-year-old Aviva was exhausted prior to her first high school final exams. Her family thought it was mononucleosis. Tests revealed liver disease serious enough to require a transplant


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