Best Christmas Present Ever Was Delivered Surgically

We can all say that our mothers gave us the gift of life. But how many can say that they gave the gift of life in return? One teenager in Maryland did exactly that for his mother, who was suffering from the chronic liver disease called primary biliary cholangitis (PBC).

Shortly before Christmas, Colin Hambrook, 19, voluntarily gave up half his liver to save his mother’s life. His mother, Lisa Shanahan, was diagnosed with PBC in 2007.

It took years for Lisa to get a proper diagnosis. She had been feeling run down and fatigued since the 90s; she thought she just had “mommy disease,” attributing her symptoms to being a mother of three and working full-time. Even a moderate degree of exertion could send Lisa crawling into bed to rest up.

Lisa has been on the liver transplant list ever since her diagnosis. However, her chances of receiving a liver were slim; her small stature severely limited the potential donors. Recently, her doctors began discussing living donation options.

Her teenage son answered the call. Despite her protests, Colin insisted that he wanted to give up part of his liver. Why? Because he wanted to have his mother there when he graduates from college and starts a family.

The operation was carefully planned and timed by Dr. Rolf Barth of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. As soon as Lisa’s liver was removed, the donated portion of her son’s liver arrived from the operating room next door.

The operation seems to have gone off without a hitch. What could have been Lisa’s last Christmas turned into an incredible gift: the beginning of a whole new life.

Read more of Lisa’s touching story here, then learn more about becoming an organ donor by clicking here.

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