Giving back the gift of life
After his daughter needed a new liver, Will Patterson '99 became a liver transplant advocate.
by Jessie Milligan
Updated: Friday, June 12, 2009
Emery, now 2 years old, is the daughter of Will Patterson ’99 and was diagnosed with a life-threatening and rare liver condition in 2007. She received a new liver at 10 months.
Will Patterson ’99 knows more than a little bit about “the gift of life.”
In 2007, his 3-month-old daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening and rare liver condition.
On Christmas Eve 2007, Emery Ann Patterson underwent surgery to temporarily correct the condition. Eventually she would need a liver transplant.
“Every 15-20 minutes in the United States a person on an organ transplant waiting list dies waiting for their gift of life,” Patterson says.
Emery was one of the lucky ones.
On July 24, 2008, Emery received a liver transplant. She was only 10 months old.
She’s a healthy and very active 2-year-old now.
Will and wife Crissy Patterson were so grateful for the generosity of the donor family that they set out to find a way to “give back.” The Pattersons, Emery included, made the rounds of radio stations this spring in Illinois, where they live.
The facts they shared are sobering. One day last spring, for instance, 102,000 people in the U.S. were waiting for organ transplants. But in one two-month period early this year, only 2,300 organs had been donated.
The Pattersons also visit other families waiting for liver donations. It’s a way to offer support and answer questions.
When the Pattersons talk about organ donation, they discuss the myths, such as a perceived unwillingness by certain religions to endorse donations, when, if fact, many religions support such donations.
Will Patterson refers people interested in knowing more to http://www.organdonor.gov/.