Liver cancer often isn’t detected until it’s progressed, sadly. When Richard Burdge was diagnosed at age 62 with liver cancer, his family was understandably shocked.
They knew the odds were stacked against them and he had to complete a long list of tests in order to simply qualify for the deceased donor list. More than 16,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a liver to become available, just like Richard.
But only 6,000 deceased donor organs are available each year, leaving 10,000 people desperate for a liver.
The family tried to find a suitable live donor for Richard instead, knowing that his other options didn’t look good. They queried their adult children to see if anyone was a match, said daughter Tiffany.
“When my dad was first diagnosed, my family created flyers and spread the word that we needed a living donor for him through email and Facebook. We did have a few friends and family come forward to try and donate, but none were able to make it all the way through the qualifying process for various reasons. My brother was a different blood type and my sister went to get tested but because of the fact that my family really wanted her to be my father’s caregiver, we decided that she wouldn’t be the right fit.”
It was a stressful, traumatic time for the family as they waited and waited. Tiffany, who just had her third baby, had not been able to have the necessary tests done to determine if she was a match until six months post-partum.
When she finally was cleared to have the tests, they discovered that she was the perfect match.
“Once I found out I was a great match I was determined to donate my liver. At first my parents didn’t want me to because I have three kids under four years old and given the possibilities of complications, but when one of his tumors started growing back after months of chemo, we knew he had to get the transplant soon.”
The surgery was scheduled for Sept. 11 at NY Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Tiffany and her immediate family made all of the necessary pre-surgical preparations, just in case.
The family waited nervously while Tiffany and Richard were whisked back for surgery. Tiffany had 65 percent of her liver removed, which then was transplanted into her father. He had his entire liver removed and replaced with Tiffany’s donation.
Within just a few days of successful surgeries, daughter and father were able to see each other again. Tiffany was wheeled in a wheelchair to see her dad and when the two first laid eyes on each other, everyone gathered around the room just couldn’t hold back the tears.
While holding his daughter’s hand, Richard tearfully and beautifully told his daughter the sweetest thing.
“Thank you so much, you’ve saved my life.”
Richard also joked that Tiffany had just escalated to the top of his will. Tiffany’s sister Tammy recorded their emotional reunion and shared it on social media where it’s been shared thousands of times.
“My sister was so brave and donated over half her liver to my father who was battling liver cancer in the hopes of saving his life. We want to spread the word about the importance of organ donation and show the world what it can do.”
Blessedly, Richard has been deemed cancer-free and will be monitored by his physicians to make sure the cancer doesn’t return again. Watch this father-daughter duo’s glorious, heartfelt reunion in the video below. It surely will bring a tear to your eye, too.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.
Join your friends or be the first to like our page