During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with Courtney Schapier, a liver donor, the sister of a liver recipient, and one of the Organ Donation Coordinators at LifeCenter. Upon learning about her brother’s need for a liver, Courtney made the incredibly brave decision to make a difference. Her story is simply amazing!
- November 13th-15th is National Donor Sabbath, a time for everyone to recognize the miracle that is an organ, eye, and tissue donation.
- Courtney has been an Organ Donation Coordinator at LifeCenter for the past 6-7 years.
- Donation Coordinators handle the medical management and evaluation for organ donors.
- Amongst other responsibilities, Courtney plays a large part in matching organs to donors.
- Sometimes, organ donation acts as the silver lining to families that are going through an incredibly hard time.
- Donation coordination is a 24-hour job because donation does not run on a 9-5 schedule.
- From the time that a case opens to the time it closes, Courtney is on the clock for 36 hours.
- Courtney uses CrossFit and a great support system as outlets for the high stress levels of this job.
- With such a high-stress job, it’s no surprise that there is a high level of turnover.
- There have been times where the stress of the job has made Courtney question her desire to be here.
- COVID brought everything to a screeching halt when it first exploded back in March.
- The sheer amount of unknown information has made the ongoing global pandemic that much scarier.
- Things have finally begun to get back to normal, meaning more lives are being saved via organ donation.
- In 2016, Courtney’s brother discovered a huge mass on his liver that required a transplant.
- Unfortunately, Courtney lost her father when she was only 2 months old, so her brother acted as a father to her.
- Courtney was informed that she was a donor match for her brother while supporting a family that was pulling life-support.
- The weight of the situation started to feel heavy when Courtney sat on the pre-op table.
- Sitting outside the OR doors on the pre-op table, Courtney was rolled back for surgery after only 20 or 30 minutes.
- There were a handful of signs that something was wrong with Courtney’s brother’s liver long before the doctors caught it.
- After everything was said and done, it took a 10-hour procedure for Courtney to donate over half of her liver.
- The first thing that Courtney can remember is getting sick immediately after surgery.
- Courtney finally got to see her brother when she was transferred to the ICU.
- It was a complete shift in lifestyle for Courtney from the moment that she found out she was a donor match for her brother.
- Finding living liver donors is more rare than finding living kidney donors.
- Both Courtney and her brother fully recovered and are as healthy as they can be today.
- TX Jet was kind enough to donate its services to fly Courtney and her family out for surgery.
- After her donation, Courtney was sure that she was at the right job at LifeCenter.
- Courtney was comforted by the knowledge that everything in her life made her the perfect donor for her brother.
- This year, Courtney is focusing on being more present when she is with loved ones.
- The amazing thing about donation and transplantation is the opportunity to potentially save a life.
3 Key Points:
- Organ Donation Coordinators manage everything from the moment a donor decides to donate, to the time that the organ is sent to its recipient.
- It takes a very special person to not only manage the responsibilities of being a Donation Coordinator, but also the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the job.
- Courtney donated just over 50% of her own liver, which was oversized, to begin with, to save her brother’s life.