Saving Summer: A story of one stranger stepping forward as living liver donor

April 20, 2019

My story as an organ donor for "Baby Summer" began over Christmas break. I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a story: Lila's Perfect Liver.


Lila's mom was asking for help finding her daughter a living liver donor after years waiting for the perfect match. She was on the deceased donor list, but she was praying for a living donor for her daughter. The picture of 3-year-old Lila looked just like my daughter, Madeline, when she was three. I applied immediately to the UPMC website: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 


I received an email that they were currently testing a possible match, and two weeks after that I received a call asking if I would come to the hospital to get tested - the first person they had fell through. While being tested, they also asked if I would be willing to test for a 6-month-old baby, who was also in dire need. Because of my height and weight, I was being considered.


This little baby was Summer. 

After 12-hours of testing, blood work, scans and Xrays, they determined that I was not only a match for Lila, I was a perfect match for Summer. There's no greater feeling than having the gift of life! 


They found another donor for Lila, and she received her lifesaving gift on April 4th. I truly believe that I was always meant to be Summer's donor, and that Lila brought us together. 


I recently drove to near Buffalo, NY - where Summer lives - to meet her and hug those who love her most. She is an absolutely beautiful baby and it's a truly blessing to give her the chance to have a happy and healthy...long life. 


We thank Michele Fleeger for contributing to Hope Rises to share her story. We have been following Summer's story, and covering her need for a liver for months. We will bring you the latest information after the upcoming surgery. 


You can follow our most updated page here.





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