NewsLocal News


Utah mother is two-time living organ donor — the first in the state

Kate and Eva
Posted at 10:48 AM, May 04, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Donating an organ to save the life of another is a supreme act of compassion, and one Utah woman in the state has made this gift twice.

Kate, a 37-year-old mother, is the only two-time living organ donor in the state, and among only 155 people nationwide who have donated both a kidney and part of their liver to save the lives of others.

One recipient was two-year-old Eva, who received a liver transplant at Intermountain Children's Hospital to save her life. The girl was a total stranger who now proudly shows off her scar from the procedure.

Kate also donated a kidney to a woman she met while working in the Washington, D.C., area.

Living-donor liver transplants occur when a portion of a living person’s liver is removed and surgically placed into another person. After the surgery, the donor’s liver regenerates to its regular size within about two months.

In the recipient, the transplanted liver grows to fit his or her body, and functions as a healthy liver.

“Living donor liver transplants not only significantly increase the number of available organs for children waiting for a transplant, but they also reduce the waiting time for children who urgently require a liver transplant, saving their lives,” said Cecile Aguayo, Pediatric Transplant Services Director at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

Kate became interested in being a living organ donor in the early 2000s.

A friend who worked in the same building had a disease affecting her kidneys, and after discovering they had the same blood type, Kate offered to become her donor.

When Kate moved to Utah, she contacted Primary Children’s Hospital and offered to donate part of her liver to help a child in need.

Baby Eva, who was being treated for biliary atresia since she was just two months old, became the second recipient of Kate's amazing generosity.

“It was nine months of waiting (for a matching liver donor),” said Eva’s mom, Alyssa Anderson.

“Without intervention, her liver would have failed, and she would have died. Most kids with this disease years ago wouldn’t have even lived to see their first birthday.”

Eva's mom said she was “kind of starstruck” meeting Kate, another mother just like her.

“I wanted to show her all the pictures and make sure she understood that she saved my baby’s life,” she added. “All of our family is so grateful to her.”

Kate says kindness "makes you day to help," even doing something as simple as opening a door for someone.

“So imagine the opportunity to donate and save someone’s life.”

Find out more about living organ donations here.