When Maggie found out she had liver cancer and needed a transplant to survive, it was difficult to fathom because she had always been a very healthy, active and independent person who rarely even caught a cold. At the time, she was busy working, playing music, enjoying the great outdoors, and spending time with friends and family. She knew she was lucky to have the option for transplant, but was very scared because she had never known anyone who had a transplant.
Not long after being placed on the waiting list she received the call from the hospital letting her know they had a match. During the ride to the hospital she felt anxious, like she was leaving for a big trip. Their was a huge shift in reality as home and work details dropped away, and were replaced by the knowledge that this was really happening. She was going to receive her transplant.
The transplant surgery went well, but as she was recovering the next day it soon became apparent the organ was not functioning well; a very rare situation. She was placed on the waiting list again, and for the second time in less than a week, was gifted life from another person who had selflessly donated their organ. The second transplant was successful and she recovered quickly and smoothly.
These days, she is back to her active and healthy lifestyle – including rarely even catching a cold! She volunteers as a Patient Adviser at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), and as a Community Advocate at LifeCenter Northwest. She is a member of the fitness group UWMC Team Transplant and has completed several half-marathons along with dozens of friends who have also had transplants.
“When I’m buzzing through all my life activities, I often stop and have a reality check. I always feel a big wave of astonishment, joy, vigor, sorrow and gratitude. I think of my two donor’s families and am amazed that at the time of their greatest loss, they could be so gracious to donate the organs of their loved ones to help other people. And I think of the medical staff, my parents, family and friends who helped so much. And realize how lucky and blessed I am.”