A stranger donates part of her liver, giving the gift of life to infant

News Observer | Anne Blythe

Elijah Tsawo, at Duke University Hospital, with liver donor Sarah Ames. Ames was a stranger who donated part of her liver to save Elijah's life. She and Elijah's family have become close since the surgery earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Nicole Fisher

Sarah Ames lives by the philosophy that if you have the ability to help someone, you have the responsibility to try.

So this spring, when she was moved by a story about a mother’s plea for a liver donor for an infant son, Ames had no qualms about quickly taking a survey to see if she might be a match.

She received a callback the next day.

Two days later she was at Duke University Medical Center for more testing.

And two weeks later she was on an operating table at Duke Children’s Hospital, undergoing her first major surgery so she could give 25 percent of her liver to a stranger.

It was a gift of life for Elijah Tsawo, a 17-month-old boy who brought together two mothers who say the child’s misfortune led to their good fortune of meeting each other for a friendship they hope will last a lifetime. Continue reading