Tracy Copeland, Liver Recipient

February 2, 1998 seemed like a normal day, started like a normal day; that is, until I looked in the mirror.  The whites of my eyes were no longer white, but had an unattractive yellow glow.  Something was not quite right.  My stomach had been irritated lately, but I attributed it to stress; you know, the familiar stuff, holidays, end of the year, end of the month, the impending audit.  It turned out to be a little more complicated than stress.

Just over a month after discovering my odd colored eyes, I boarded a plane headed for California to have a liver biopsy.

Over the weekend my condition deteriorated rapidly.  By Monday I had slipped into a coma.  I suffered from “fulminate liver failure of unknown etiology”, (unknown complete liver failure).  Without a liver transplant, my days were now hours and the hours were few.  My family and friends had nothing to do but wait and pray.

Wednesday morning, by God’s grace, I received the most precious gift, life.  I believe I am truly blessed; one of the fortunate.

There is of course another side to my story that is most important to share.  The story of a young man only nineteen years old, much loved and full of life.  Terry Snow suffered a tragic motorcycle accident on March 2, 1998.  After two operations and many days in a coma, his family made the difficult decision to remove him from life support.   In the midst of their own unimaginable grief the Snows made another critical decision.   They decided to donate Terry’s organs.  This decision provided life to the heart recipient, lung recipient, kidney recipient and I, the liver recipient.  In addition, two more individuals received sight as a result of Terry’s donation.  On March 12, 1998, my family grew by five.  My donor, Terry Snow, his parents, Kathy and John, and his sister, Lynn Paulsen.