Kristofer Garriott (left) and Omar Garriott (right) have more in common than being half-brothers. They share a liver!
“Hepatocellular carcinoma,” said a familiar-but-distant voice on the phone on a Friday afternoon in April 2016. I fell to my knees, knowing everything had just changed. I was 35.
I had aggressive liver cancer. But living in California meant I faced a long wait for a new liver—maybe a longer wait than I had.
I am not alone. For every 92 lives saved through transplantation every day, 18 die. But UNOS is working to provide greater equity in access and promote efficiency in donation and transplant.
My surgeons treated my cancer with a liver resection, but I still needed a transplant—I had constant infections as well as a real risk of recurrence. It was then that I learned about another way to get a new liver: a living donor.
I was lucky. This time, I didn’t have to worry about waiting for the perfect match. Location and logistics didn’t impact whether I received a new liver.