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An Active, Healthy Young Woman More than 20 Years Later

Liver Recipient

Kelly made her entrance into the world as a normal and healthy baby. Shortly after her birth, she developed neonatal jaundice. A month later, she was tested again, and the diagnosis came back: Kelly had neonatal hepatitis. Her liver was severely weakened.

Just after her second birthday, with doctors predicting that she had less than one week to live, Kelly received the gift of life. Her mother, Cathy, remembers the day well. “We were sad to know that another child had died, and we were in awe that a family, in the most tragic moment of their lives, chose to help a perfect stranger: Kelly.”

Today, more than 20 years later, Kelly is an active, healthy young woman. And all the family members participate in efforts to promote donation. After years of volunteer work, Cathy now works for the Donor Network West (formerly California Transplant Donor Network) in the Community Outreach department.

Kelly has participated in Saturn Donor Day, she’s thrown out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game, and each year she helps with the annual Christmas party for the kids at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, where she gives hope to the many children heading down the same road she did.

Says Kelly’s mother Cathy, “It has been over 20 years since Kelly received her gift of life through a perfect stranger. This family said ‘yes’ to donation when their own child died. We think of her donor family and thank them in our hearts every day.”

Kelly’s story is courtesy of Donor Network West (formerly California Transplant Donor Network), Oakland, CA.

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This video features Caitlin, saved by a liver transplant when she was 5 months old.