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Zoë Johnson

Photo Description

Zoë (in blue), live liver donor, and Vicky (in green), liver transplant recipient, four months after our surgery!

My Story

On November 14, 2023, I donated 65% of my liver to my friend, Vicky, who had Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) and Autoimmune Hepatitis at NY Presbyterian – Columbia/Cornell in Manhattan. We are both thriving thanks to the truly incredible science of live liver transplantation!

When Vicky told me she’d need a liver transplant last year, I knew I was lucky enough to be both physically and emotionally healthy (and also lucky enough to be able to take time off work and have family to care for me), and I immediately signed up to be a candidate. Through this crazy and life-affirming process, I’ve had so much incredible support from my family and friends, and from Vicky’s family and friends. I’ve also learned so much about the importance of organ donation.

I hope to help shift the narrative around living donation – a shockingly low number of liver transplants in the US are from live donors (about 600/year – or just 7% of the roughly 8,500 total transplants/year).

More than 12,000 people are waiting for a liver in the US right now (!!!), but it doesn’t have to be that way. People shouldn’t have to wait until they’re near-death to qualify for a transplant when MANY more people could be living donors right now. Although there was an initial period of intensive recovery, I was back to running, lifting, and my normal life in less than two months. I even ran a half marathon 4 months after the transplant! I hope our story inspires others to become organ donors 💙💚

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