“It means, to me, that there’s nothing that I would really care to change in my life. I’m very happy with the ways things are.” – Maryellen Witte
My life was impacted in 1977 in a way I wouldn’t know for years. After receiving blood during surgery, I was infected with Hepatitis C. My life went on as normal with no awareness of this until 1992 when I was informed in a letter after I donated blood that tested positive for it. Since I was symptom free and working, living a full life, I chose not to pursue treatment at that time. This all changed in May 2002 when symptoms started cropping up and I saw a liver specialist. I was told my liver was deteriorating and I would likely need a transplant within 3 years.
In six months my situation had worsened considerably, and the timeline was moved up. By March 2003, I was moved to the top of the list. I was completely within the care of others at this point, and going to countless appointments in preparation for a transplant and the waiting game had begun. On May 21, 2003, we got “the call” in the middle of the night that a donor match had been found. The surgery was successful and five months later I began treatment to clear the Hep C, which was still in my body. By the end of March 2004 the Hep C was gone!
After that, I truly had my life back. In the 16 years since then, I have been blessed with two more grandchildren and am enjoying life with my two children and seven grandchildren. I am active, working part-time, and volunteering for many organizations, including LifeCenter. I will never know my donor, but I sincerely hope the family knows how supremely grateful I am for the gift that was given, allowing me these additional full and happy years.