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Ryan Agnew Liver Transplant Recipient

April is Donor Awareness Month and, in honor of this very special month, the American Liver Foundation would like to share a story of hope, survival and the ultimate gift of life.


Everyday holds the possibility of a miracle.

Ryan Agnew is a happy healthy, athletic child. His week consisted of school and after school activities: piano, drumming, soccer and ice hockey. The day Ryan came home sick with a stomach ache never seemed to be a big concern, until, in a matter of days he suddenly turned jaundice from an unknown hepatitis. Ryan’s blood reports showed very high liver enzyme levels. He had to be transferred to a hospital with liver specialists and a transplant team in the event Ryan’s liver was not able to recover on its own.

The liver doctors identified that Ryan was in need of a new liver and, on October 26, 2009, the Agnew family received a call that there was in fact a match for Ryan. Dr. Sukru Emre, of Yale New Haven Transplant Center in Connecticut, did a split liver transplant, performing a twelve hour complex surgery with his dedicated team. Ryan and another child received a new liver each from the same donor.

The importance of continued liver research allowed for this medical miracle.
The Agnew family recognizes the donor shortage and wishes to share Ryan’s story with you to educate people on the importance of being an organ donor. It saved their son's life. It’s the ultimate act of giving to another human being in need. The Agnew family's thoughts are with the donor's family each and every day when they look at Ryan. What a courageous family… giving another child a second chance at life when their own child lost her life so suddenly. Their daughter now lives on in Ryan. She saved two lives.

The incredible support the Agnews have received from family, friends, neighbors, church, school, work and the entire community has carried them through their difficult time.
Ryan is now three years post-transplant. He is in 8th grade honors classes and plays in select band at school. He enjoys soccer, skateboarding and swimming in the summer with his friends. Ryan requires medicine daily which he will take for the rest of his life, and he is monitored by doctor Ezequiel Neimark, a pediatric Liver specialist at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Rhode Island. All of Ryan’s doctors appreciate how Ryan understands his responsibilities with his new liver. He takes his medicine on time, tries to avoid injury or illness, and he is able to enjoy life to the fullest thanks to the gift of a donated organ.

Page updated: April 15th, 2013