Our friend tells his story: "I owe my life to a woman I have named "Angel." On April 15th at 64 years of age, I received a liver transplant. Had I not received it, my Story of Hope, which began with a diagnosis of hepatitis nearly forty years ago, would have ended by now.
 I acquired hepatitis working in my career as a Medical Technologist. It first appeared as an acute illness, followed by thirty years when it lingered without symptoms. Then, on September 11, 2001, I was admitted to the hospital, seriously ill, again. Although I improved enough to go home, this was a wake up call that signaled the end of all social drinking, and the beginning of better nutrition and regular evaluations.
 Treatment at a major medical center's Liver Disease Center included three different therapies, each of which eventually failed. I even underwent several palliative surgeries to help relieve the side effects; but, I continued to go “downhill.”
 I reached the point that I was ready to accept my fate. I had lived a life like no other! My life had been full, fascinating, and fulfilling. I saw no reason for the last chapter of my life to be one of degradation and misery.
 My wife Colleen, family and friends would have none of it. They insisted I consult with the Mayo Clinic where two weeks of the most grueling and comprehensive testing of my life ensued. Miraculously, I learned I was an excellent candidate for transplant. If I would agree to comply with the protocol, up to and after transplant, they would accept me into their program!
 Soon after, liver cancer was diagnosed. This discovery was a blessing that came wrapped in a very ugly package because it moved me rapidly up the waiting list for transplant.
 On three occasions, I came very close (as an alternate) to receiving a liver; but, each time the liver went to someone else. The very first feeling is disappointment; but, that faded quickly because I had experienced something more life-changing than a transplant!
 A few years before, I was on vacation with John and Starla when Colby drowned. I saw firsthand the devastation, shock, heartache, and rage that people go through when a loved one is suddenly taken. And I also saw, weeks later, how their gift of life had taken them to a better place from which to grieve. So, when I learned that it was not my time, I took heart in the fact that someone needed that liver more than I did, and somewhere a family that was holding out for a miracle just got one! Next was prayer time for the other family—the family that, at a time of great personal loss, had the courage and thoughtfulness to do the only good thing that could come from their tragedy.
 The fourth time was the charm. Again, I was an alternate. Just as my wife and I were discussing the chances an alternate might have, to get the liver, Dr. Singer walked in and said "Remember I told you the right liver would come along? Well…this liver…it is perfect for you... You ready?"
 The transplant surgery was far more involved than expected and complications developed requiring a second surgery the next day. I was promised that each day would be better than the last; and so it was. I did so well post operatively, that I was allowed to go home on day five!
 That was five months ago, and each day is a blessing in itself. I have had one instance of acute rejection, but that was quickly resolved with medication adjustment. I don't think the transplant in itself makes each day seem so special, but it did make me understand how fragile life is. I wonder if Angel knew this when she passed her life on to me. I look forward to reaching out to her family and friends to get to know her better."

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