When Aaron Mesnik-Greene was just two months old he developed jaundice. His parents brought him to the pediatrician where his doctors found abnormal liver function. After an exploratory surgery, it was confirmed that he had biliary atresia, a rare condition in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver are blocked. After a procedure creating new ducts did not relieve the situation, Aaron was admitted to Seattle Children’s Hospital for abdominal buildup and eventually placed on the transplant waiting list. As his condition worsened, Aaron quickly rose to the top of the list. Within two weeks he received a new liver.

Aaron in the hospital, receiving his tranplant

Throughout his illness, and many hospital trips, Aaron’s parents remained optimistic that their son would receive the life-saving gift of a liver transplant, but they also knew that Aaron’s second chance would come at the price of another family’s loss; a bittersweet feeling.

Just one week after his transplant, Aaron and his parents received a letter from his donor family. The two families met when Aaron was nine years old and have remained in contact throughout the years.

Today, 24 years after his transplant, Aaron says his life is no different than anyone else’s, a normalcy that wouldn’t be possible without the selfless gift his donor family gave.

“Without organ donation, I wouldn’t be alive, period. For this, I’m grateful every day to the medical world and the kindness of strangers for making it happen.”