Holly Werlein, Liver Recipient

I never thought in a million years that I would go through something like this.  I went from being a healthy 21 year old, to a patient in the ICU experiencing fulminate liver failure. What had been a routine checkup, soon turned into a life altering experience. I was fortunate, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I was at the Cleveland Clinic for a totally unrelated appointment and my mom noticed that my eyes were yellow. She asked my doctor who had my liver enzymes tested- when the test results came back, I was immediately admitted to the hospital. I have little recollection of the events that took place after being admitted in those early days, until I woke up nearly a week later, with a new liver.

Apparently, doctors discovered that my liver only had 20% function and my only option was a transplant. I was moved to the top of the national waiting list and miraculously, a liver became available in only 8 hours. I was transplanted with no time to spare. Without my amazing donor, I would not be alive today.

I seemed to recovery quite quickly at first, but just 5 weeks after my transplant I started rejecting my new gift. Thankfully with heavy dose IV steroids for 2 weeks my body accepted my liver and I have been healthy ever since.

Because of my transplant, I have been able to resume my previously active life, and have even had the opportunity to compete in two U.S. transplant Games. I am so proud and grateful everyday that I am able to do all of the things that I could do before I got sick.  The Gift of Life is so amazing, every day is a true gift, and I appreciate each moment. I am so happy to be alive and forever grateful for my donor! Donors are true heroes.