Weekly High-Five Report: Liver Day, a tribute to a hero

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Whitney and John all smiles after the transplant

Four years ago yesterday my husband received a liver transplant. Thanks to the generous donation by his living donor, Whitney Meriwether, who gave up nearly half of his liver, John is now alive and thriving. While many friends and family stood in the queue to help save John’s life, each one of us was rejected for various reasons. I was a good match but diabetes prevented me from donating. Whitney was rejected twice, but he kept trying. Most people would give up. Most people would tell themselves they tried, patting themselves on the back for the effort. Not Whitney. He figured that with a few dietary changes he could save John’s life. In a living donor transplant the right lobe from the donor is transplanted into the patient and in just one month regrows to full size in both people. It reminds me a little bit of the scene from Woody Allen’s Sleeper, like a nose that will grow back into a person. It’s strange but amazing. And now my husband has a very important piece of Whitney inside him. I’m just glad that Whitney never gave up. The day before the surgery his mom told me that Whitney doesn’t like to be told “No”. Thank God for that. Four years ago today John and Whitney walked out of Intensive Care (well, Whitney walked, John rode on the gurney). This weekend John and I reminded ourselves of our good fortune. He’s alive. He’s cancer-free. He’s still a father, a husband, a friend. If you’ve ever wondered what a hero who has learned firsthand the regenerative powers of the liver does next, check out Meriwether Distillery, a craft distillery making spirits in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. Now here’s a man who knows how to use his liver. Thank you Whitney. High-five brother.

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3 responses »

  1. What an amazing journey for everyone who was involved in this wonderful success story. I read your book, “The Next 15 Minutes”, and I feel I was right there with all of you through the ups and many downs you experienced throughout that traumatic time. God bless all of you, John, Whitney, Kim, the skilled medical staff at the Mayo Clinic, and all those who generously extended the love and support needed for this great success story. As part of the Crystal local community, we are all sharing this as a personal blessing and victory and wish you many more active years doing what all of us love best – skiing.

    • Clay,

      Thanks for this lovely comment. John and I are very blessed. The trick, of course, is to always remember that. And kindnesses such as this are a great reminder.

  2. Pingback: Facebook Saves Lives « Kim Kircher

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