ATLANTA, Ga. - Terri Willis was born with Tyrosinemia, a very rare metabolic disease. This is where the liver doesn’t have the proper enzymes it needs to break down protein. Because it was so rare, Terri wasn't diagnosed until she was two years old. Terri was only the second person in the United States to be diagnosed with it at that time.
“I was born with a disease that led to liver cancer and needed a liver transplant which I received when I was 13 years old at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston,” said Terri.
Terri and her family met Dr. Thomas Dodson and he was the one who started Egleston's liver transplant program in 1990.
“I cannot remember how long I was on the list. I know it wasn't long. Back then, they gave you a pager while waiting. I was with my mom and sister at lunch at the Waffle House when it went off. It was from my coordinator, telling us they had a liver for me.”
“My parents were told if during surgery they saw the cancer spreading outside of the liver then they would close me up. The liver would go to someone else and nothing more could be done for me. At the time of my surgery, the cancer had already spread all throughout the liver and my gallbladder. If I had waited any longer, it probably would have been too late.” Continue reading
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