SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) A first in Utah surgery – a left lobe living liver transplant using 3D printer technology. The surgery was performed back in February by the Intermountain Healthcare Transplant team.
Today we met the donor – Brandon Finlayson, And the recipient of that transplant – his mother Gwen Finlayson.
“I look toward the future with hope instead of how sick an I going to be then. I look forward with joy and optimism and try to figure out what are we going to do next.”
The 63-year-old Springville woman says because of the transplant she has the energy she hasn’t had for years.
“I feel like we are gaining ground every day. Starting to hope and dream and thinking about the future.”
That is far different from how she felt before the transplant because for the past 25 years or so she’s been suffering from the effects of autoimmune hepatitis.
“I would go to the hospital and stay I wasn’t getting over things – there were a lot of indications that this was going South in a hurry.”
Gwen says she owes her incredible change and her health to her son – who says convincing his mom to accept part of his liver wasn’t easy.
“We approached her and talked to her about it and said this is a possibility and she pretty much shut us down and said no – it’s not a possibility – I don’t even want to talk about it.”
“It took days to get her to finally even think about the idea. A lot of convincing.”
Brandon, who is 37, says he did it out of love and out of necessity.
“They told us – they were up front with us – and said this is your only chance – there is not a good chance of getting an organ off that list at your age and where you are health-wise.”
And while his mother resisted at first, she is grateful she did it and grateful for her son.
“I don’t know if I have the words to describe how I feel about my son. I am grateful he is the kind of man who would do something like that. That he would risk his life for another human being – didn’t have to be his mother – he would have done it for anybody. To me, that is the definition of a hero.”
Brandon tells us he is now off the hook for any Mother’s Day gifts for a few years. By the way – Gwen says she is now walking five miles a day.