Living with hepatitis can be truly painful. And those whose conditions can be improved with liver transplants are often hindered by long waiting lists. However, Gwen Finlayson (63) managed to avoid further medical issues — and all because of the unconditional love of her son Brandon (37).
This Utah mother of 4 was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis back in 1991. This nasty disease causes the antibodies in the patient’s immune system to attack liver cells. And because of this, doctors informed Gwen that she would require a liver transplant in a couple of years at most.
However, Gwen managed to go more than two decades without a transplant. And seeing as she is 63, now her chances of getting one from the donor’s list looked bleak. But that’s when her son Brandon Finlayson stepped in and gave her the best early Mother’s Day gift one could hope for.
At first, Gwen categorically refused the transplant from Brandon, not wanting to risk her son’s life. After all, Brandon is a father of 5 himself. But after some convincing, she accepted her son’s noble gesture. And the operation that was performed in February was not only heart-warming but ground-breaking as well.
The leading transplant surgeon on the procedure, Dr. Manuel Rodriguez-Davalos, explained why the procedure was a new frontier in medicine. Usually, surgeons would take the right-lobe graft from a donor; one that’s about 60% of the healthy liver. But this time, doctors performed the first left-lobe transplant from a living donor successfully. The modern 3D imaging technology allowed them to make a 3D print of the donor’s liver, helping them to plan the procedure and practice all the steps.
This proved to be crucial, as they managed to take only 40% of Brandon’s healthy liver. Because a left-lobe transplant presents higher chances for successful donor recovery, as well as equal or better chances for Gwen, this was a revolutionary procedure.
Fast forward to May, and both Brandon and Gwen are making a great recovery. Both of their livers will regenerate up to 90% of their normal sizes in the next couple of months. In fact, Gwen has begun walking 5 miles every day — she hasn’t felt this energetic in years. She has repeatedly shown gratitude to her son, calling him a hero on multiple occasions.
Brandon remains modest, only joking that he’s probably off the hook when it comes to mother’s day gifts in the next few years.