A New York dad has decided to lose his weight to become an organ donor.
Sean Kelley started a major weight loss journey because he wanted to qualify as a living liver donor for his newborn son Sawyer, who was diagnosed with Alagille syndrome since his birth and needed a transplant to survive, according to WYFF News 4.
His wife Josie also has Alagille syndrome and she couldn’t donate a part of her liver. Sean was the only viable candidate so he started to lose weight to be considered a match.
“There’s no reason that I can’t get down to the weight that I need to see if could I could be a match as well,” he told Good Morning America. “I didn’t know if I would be a match for Sawyer or not, but to even go through the evaluation process, I had to get my weight down to a certain point.”
Sean started his weight loss journey in August 2019 and dropped 30 pounds to qualify for the testing needed to become a donor, according to WYFF.
He reached the goal and also proved to be a match for his son’s liver transplant. The dad told the outlet Sawyer’s donation coordinator was the one who called him, “She said, ‘Guess what? You’re a match. The surgery’s scheduled.’”
“And I had to sit down,” he added.
The transplant surgery took place on Dec. 19 and it was “complex and challenging,” Dr. George Mazariegos, the chief of pediatric transplantation at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, told Good Morning America.
“He will be much healthier, we believe, with this liver, and be able to withstand infections and withstand things that right now we’re really big setbacks for him,” the physician said of baby Sawyer.
Sean is happy that the transplant was successful, and he hopes his story will help inspire others to consider being a living organ donor. He told the outlet.
He said, “It’s an incredible thing to even consider being evaluated and going through the process to see if you could be a match for somebody.”
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