About Making a Living Liver Donation

And the Importance of Donor Stories
Garlic: Chinese Cultural Symbol for Abundance

Awareness of Living Liver Donation

Abundant features storytelling performances by living kidney donors.  Among those stories, is the story of Mike Speck, who is a “double donor,” an individual who donated his kidney to one stranger, and a portion of his liver to a small child, who was also a stranger.  This is one way that liver donation makes a big impact on the story of Abundant.

Besides our skin, our liver is our largest organ, and is the only organ in our body that can regenerate.  Just as a starfish can be cut into 2 pieces and grow into 2 complete starfish, a liver donor can donate up to 65% of their liver, and it will grow back to over 90% of its original volume in just 6 months.  The piece of the liver transplanted into the liver patient also grows to full size.  This demonstrates a truly miraculous way that we can give of our bodies to save the life of somebody else while remaining physically whole.

The demand for liver donors is a fraction of the demand for kidney donors, however there are nearly 11,000 people in our country waiting for a lifesaving liver transplant right now.  Kidney patients on the deceased donor waitlist receive a kidney when they wait long enough to get to the top of the waitlist, it’s a function of time.  With livers, those who are most sick are prioritized to receive a deceased donor transplant.  Often by the time someone is sick enough to receive a liver transplant, they have other medical issues that ultimately rule them out as a transplant candidate.

As with kidney donation, living liver donation decreases the wait time for a lifesaving transplant.  This can reduce the wait by month or even years.  With a shorter wait for a transplant, the recipient’s health is stronger, which benefits recovery and long-term outcomes.  And, since most liver transplants come from deceased organ donors, every living liver donation improves the chance of transplant for those on the waitlist.

For more information on living liver donation, please visit the American Liver Foundation.


CrowdSource for Life cast member Mike Speck tells the story of his double donation.  A rare “double donor,” Mike donated his kidney and later donated part of his liver to save the life of a small child.