Written by Andrew Rose, Living Liver Donor
I am an avid social networker, almost annoyingly so if you ask my wife, and spend a lot of time on Facebook. One day in October of 2014, as I scrolled through my newsfeed I noticed a post from my friend Dianna; she was sharing a story from a former student of hers, "Christer Hiort needs a new liver — the only known cure for a disease that has slowly damaged his bile ducts. He’s been on the waiting list for seven months. Christer Hiort is the father of one of my former students and this story is about him,” wrote Dianna. Christer Hiort? I paused. The same Christer Hiort I have worked with the past several years at Ericsson needs a liver? I had no idea. While I worked for Christer on many of his projects for two of his key accounts, we weren't much more than co-workers. Outside of the office I knew very little about his life, and vice versa.
Photo: Andy and Christer recovering from the living liver transplant surgery
After reading the article, I remembered a friend in Houston, Jason, recently received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. I also remembered a post he had shared on Facebook about living kidney donors. I wondered… Can they remove part of a liver and transplant it into a sick person? As I Googled "living liver transplants" I discovered that not only are living liver donations a reality, but they are performed right here in Dallas at Baylor Medical Center. I looked at my Lync window (the internal chat system used where Christer and I work) and saw that Christer was online and available. I began typing, "I read the Dallas Morning News article. I had no idea you were waiting for a liver transplant." We chatted back and forth a bit about his need and I asked if he knew about living donor surgery… and if he'd be open to such a thing. "I'll get tested or screened and if I'm a match and able to donate, you can have half of my liver," I replied. No response. Christer is typing. Still no response. Finally Christer replied, “Are you sure, Andy? That is such a big commitment. Surgery, time in the hospital, recovery time - it's not a small operation." Yes. I’m sure.
Living Donation Fit Perfectly Into My Life
Photo: Andy (left) and Christer (right) post-op
Life Carries On
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Andrew is a husband and father of 3 children. He once weighed 250 pounds and had type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. He transformed himself by eating right and exercising regularly to become a fit and healthy ultra-marathoner and cyclist, allowing him the opportunity to be a proud living liver donor.