Damian Delaney, a high school teacher and ultra-marathon runner, was all set to donate part of his liver to a friend. At the final preparation meeting, he learned his friend’s condition had improved and she would not need a transplant after all.
He was about to get in his car and leave, when he had a second thought. He turned around and told the transplant team at Keck Medicine of USC that he would donate his liver anyway — to any patient who needed it.
In December 2018, Damian became one of the rarest of heroes — an anonymous living organ donor.
“Many people aren’t aware that the liver regenerates,” says Yuri Genyk, MD, director of the liver transplant program at Keck Hospital of USC. “Within two months, the liver will regenerate to almost its full size and potential in both the donor and recipient, and will be completely grown within a year.”
Whether it’s a friend, relative or, like Damian, a compassionate person willing to donate to a stranger, being matched with a living donor means the patient doesn’t have to wait until they’re so ill they reach the top of the national transplant waiting list.
In March 2019, Damian met Breana Shaw — the woman whose life he saved – for the first time. They are encouraging more living-donor liver donations and registering to be a deceased donor, especially during April, National Donate Life Month.
“When you do a loving act, the act itself is its own reward,” Damien says. “What greater gift is there in life than to do something to benefit someone else, whether it’s a family member or a stranger.”
Every day, 20 people die waiting for an organ transplant. A donation — from a living or deceased donor — gives life. Register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today.
To learn about becoming a living donor in Southern California, visit Keck Medicine of USC
and complete a living donor interest form
For more information on liver donation & transplant, please visit Donate Life