Liver Recipient Meets her Donor's Husband

Karen & Robert view Terri's Legacy Garden sign at the Gift of Life Walk & Run.

Karen Murphy, 52, Springfield, Ohio, has suffered from Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) since 1994. However, she didn’t get really sick until 2008 when she was also diagnosed with ulcerated colitis and began going downhill.  Over the next two years her liver function diminished due to cirrrhosis caused from the PSC. Karen was in and out of the hospital, spending many holidays at the Cleveland Clinic. She waited for the call that would save her life – but she also didn’t want to think about it because she knew someone would have to die for her to live.

When Robert Appleman’s wife, Terri, died of an aneurism he wasn’t convinced organ, eye and tissue donation was a good thing, but wanted to fulfill his wife’s wishes. Terri’s liver was transplanted to Karen in April, 2010 and after recovering began corresponding with Robert often, which helped Robert see organ donation as a positive thing and to understand the importance of Terri’s gifts.

After exchanging correspondence through Lifebanc Bereavement Services department for a couple of years, the two agreed to meet in person in Legacy Garden at the 2016 Lifebanc Gift of Life Walk & Run.

After meeting Karen, Robert said "It was really nice to meet Karen. It's important to help people become aware of the need and understand the importance of donation.  I am proud of what Terri was able to do for Karen.”

SAY "YES"

Before I actually started working in the license bureau, I never even considered being a donor. I am on the front line every day asking people to say YES to become an organ and tissue donor. At first I looked at it as part of my job, but as I grew in knowledge, understanding and situations occurring, it allowed me to see the importance of it. I didn’t look at it as just my job anymore; I looked at it as an opportunity to help save lives and eventually became a donor myself."

Stephanie Drake - Deputy Registrar for the Shaker Heights License Bureau