Stories of Hope

Hunter, liver recipient

Hunter’s Liver Transplant Journey

Hunter had big plans to become a doctor, but complications from his cystic fibrosis left him as a patient in need of a new liver. A donor’s gift gave him the chance he needed to attend medical school, saving Hunter’s life — and ultimately enabling him to save and heal the lives of others as a future physician.

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition affecting the lungs, digestive system and reproductive organs, at age three, Hunter had a relatively healthy and active childhood before more serious warning signs presented. Cystic fibrosis produces thick and sticky mucus that clogs up anything it can. In Hunter’s case, it was causing liver failure and, at just 13 years old, a new liver was his only hope.

Hunter was placed on the national transplant waiting list. As he waited, he experienced a mix of highs (playing baseball, graduating from high school and receiving his undergraduate degree) and lows (extended hospital stays and endless procedures) as he tried not to let his declining health prevent him from making the most of his youth. After a long wait, Hunter’s luck finally changed on St. Patrick’s Day when he received the new liver from a generous donor that saved his life.

Today, Hunter feels healthier than ever and is back on track pursuing his career dreams. He has obtained his master’s degree in biomedical sciences, and he is about to begin his third year of medical school. Hunter hopes to become an emergency physician so he can give back. When he is not studying, he can be found spending time with family, friends, his girlfriend and his miniature dachshund. Hunter thinks about his donor every day and feels tremendous gratitude for making it all possible.

“My family’s love and support has meant everything over the years, and my donor’s selfless gift did much more than just help me,” said Hunter. “My donor is helping every patient I will ever see in my lifetime.”