Young Girls Liver Saves Two Lives
More than 115,000 people in the United States are on waiting lists for an organ transplant, but one Ocala woman is happy to be home for the holidays after getting her new liver.
The donor was a young girl who passed away, but her liver saved two lives.
A woman and a baby.
"I did wonder if I was ever going to get that liver," said Terri Childress.
It's been about a month since Childress received what doctors call a split liver transplant. Something she's been waiting for more than three years.
"I was so tired and I was discouraged to because you just deal with this day in and day out," said Childress.
In 2009 while living in Colorado, Childress had a physical and discovered she had three liver diseases.
She would spend her days feeling fatigued, finding it hard to eat and throwing up.
Childress said doctors struggled to find a liver for her because of her petite size and her model for end stage liver disease score wasn't high enough to be on the list at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
"The doctors there said that because the meld score is higher in Arizona, that I would be too sick to wait on a full cadaver liver," said Childress.
January 2011, she took a chance and moved back to Ocala to be closer to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, in hopes of getting a liver.
In April she was put on the list, but her sister Julia Peavy sayid she continued to get worse.
"She was sicker everyday, so pretty much she was walking around dying because her liver was failing," said Julia Peavy, Childress sister.
"My faith was really low and I really believe in god and he did it in his time, with the perfect liver," said Childress.
On November 2, 2012 she got a call that changed her life forever.
Her and her sister headed to Jacksonville and hours later she went into surgery and came out as a brand new person.
"Later that afternoon, that evening I felt like a $100 bucks a million bucks. It was just crazy the difference.It was like I was never sick," said Childress.
Childress walked the halls of the hospital on the same day of her surgery.
"She was very uplifting and positive. It was just the positive attitude that was continuing to take her through the ups and downs of the recover period here at the clinic," said Amy Conley who is the Post Liver Transplant Coordinator.
Now a month later, Childress is looking forward to spending a healthy holiday season with her family, while keeping a stranger close to her heart.
"This little girl, she will live on. In me and the baby. Her parents were gracious enough to do that and because of her I am going to have a wonderful christmas with my family," said Childress.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, an average of 18 people die each day waiting for a transplant, but one organ donor can save up to eight lives.
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