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Division of Transplant Surgery

Love, loss, and a life saved

Cole Kennedy

Karen and Jim Kennedy of Castle Rock, Colorado, lost their 23-year-old son to a mountain-climbing accident in 2014. A little over two years later, the couple learned that Eric Rice, a childhood friend of their son's, had been diagnosed with a deadly liver disease.

Eric's health was deteriorating rapidly, and his best chance of survival was a liver transplant. When a potential transplant from a deceased donor fell through, Eric and his family were devastated.

Karen and Jim saw what the Rice family was going through, and they knew what it was like to lose a child. Karen decided to get tested to see if she could donate part of her own liver to Eric.

For the rest of the story, watch the video on the Denver Channel. (A brief advertisement will play before the video.)

(January 2017)

Baby gets life, liver from mother

April Wahlquist

Timothy Wahlquist was born with a rare liver disease that threatened to end his life before his first birthday. His parents, worried that the process of finding an organ donor would take too long, got tested themselves to see if either of them could be a match. Timothy's mother, April, discovered that she could donate part of her own liver to save her child.

Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret performed the operation on April, and Dr. Michael Wachs performed the operation on baby Timothy. For the rest of the story, watch the CBS news video. (A brief advertisement will play before the video.)

(November 2016)

Kidney donation crosses Pacific Ocean

Jim Fredrick

Ryan Davis, a husband and father of three, had been waiting for a kidney transplant for over a year. Thanks to a “paired donation” program, he was able to receive a kidney from a donor in Hawaii this November. This gift would not have been possible without the generosity of another Colorado man, Jim Fredrick (pictured, right), who donated one of his own kidneys to a needy recipient in Hawaii. This completed the circle and made the paired donation possible. For the full story, watch the video on the 9 News website. (A brief advertisement will play before the video.)

(November 2016)

College student donates part of liver to best friend

Hessa Miller and Hunter Dickson

What do you do when your "bestie" turns out to have a rare autoimmune disease and desperately needs a liver transplant? For 20-year-old Hunter Dickson, the answer was easy: you undergo surgery and donate part of your own liver. To learn more, watch the video on the CBS Denver website.

(June 2016)

Man who underwent historic transplant gets to see Lombardi trophy

Sam Johns poses with Lombardi Trophy

What Denver Broncos fan wouldn't love to see the team's Super Bowl 50 trophy in person? Sam Johns, a lifelong fan, got that privilege in very interesting way. Watch the video on the 9 News website to learn more.

(May 2016)

Kidney donor, recipient reunited after surgery

Donor Chrissie Smith and recipient Jillian LaPlante

What sort of person gives up one of their kidneys to someone they've never met? And what would you say if you got to meet the stranger who saved your life? To learn two women's answers to these questions, watch the video on the CBS Denver website.

(April 2016)

Cancer survivor wears motorcycle jacket in donor's memory

Wes Cook rides his motorcycle wearing a leather jacket that belonged to Cody Crosby

Cody Crosby had a positive impact on many people during his short life. When he was killed in an auto accident, his grieving family realized there was one more chance for Cody to help someone—in fact, to save a life. For the rest of the story, watch the video on the Denver Post website.

(April 2016)

21-year-old Coloradan donates kidney to stranger

Kelsey Crider and Nate Toci at University of Colorado Hospital

Nate Toci was driving home from work one day when a message on a billboard caught his eye: "Type O Blood / Kelsey needs kidney."

In that moment, Nate knew he wanted to help. He made inquiries, got tested, and learned he was a perfect kidney match for Kelsey Crider, a young woman who has been living with kidney disease for almost a decade.

The transplant surgeries took place at University of Colorado Hospital. Thanks to the generosity of a young man who had never even met her, Kelsey now has a chance at a longer, healthier life.

Watch the video on the Fox 31 News website. (A brief advertisement will play before the video.)

(March 2016)

More stories

For additional stories, visit the Department of Surgery's News Archive. To see only stories from the Transplant Division, use the filter feature or simply follow this link.

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