Happy April 1st. For a lot of you, today is the day to get back at the person who made a fool of you last April 1st — so good luck with that. I confess I do love a good April Fool’s joke (I owe you Leigha!) but the first day in April has taken on a very different meaning in my life, and in the life of my family. On this day 16 years ago, my daughter Hallie received a lifesaving liver transplant at the University of California, San Francisco. She was just three years old.
Just a year earlier Hallie had been diagnosed with a rare childhood liver cancer. Our oncologist, Dr. Paul Bowman at Cook Children’s Medical Center , told us she had a 20% chance of beating the disease. Lots of chemotherapy and two surgeries (supported by countless blood and platelet transfusions) weren’t enough. So we were sent to San Francisco for a final option, a liver transplant. Fortunately, Hallie was one tough three-year-old, and fortunately, medicine had advanced to the point that allowed my husband to donate a portion of his liver for the unprecedented transplant. Transfusion support was vital to the entire procedure, which took close to ten hours. That’s a long time in a waiting room. I’ll never forget it.
On this April 1st, Hallie is home for spring break. She’s going to college in Los Angeles, working on a double major in psychology and English. We’re proud and thankful. And all joking aside (for now) nothing could make me happier than to share this story today as a reminder of why it’s important to give blood often. Happy April Fool’s – and happy liver transplant day Hallie!