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The Greatest Of Gifts: Organ Donation

Laura Jandreau’s decision began one night as she scrolled through Facebook.

The Waterville resident, married to Shawn and mom to sons Jesse, 16, and Noah, 13, saw a notice from someone whose relative needed a new liver. For reasons she can’t explain, that October 2020 night Jandreau kept going back to the post.

“I didn’t really know the woman,’’ Jandreau said, “but knew of her. I saw our blood types were a match and I don’t know why, I just kept going back to it.’’

Her job at Memorial Park School in Waterville was on hold that fall. Out of work, Jandreau kept thinking, well, I’d have time to be an organ donor.

Because it’s her way, Jandreau prayed on where all this was leading. She found herself calling Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, one of the leading facilities for liver transplants.

“I felt I at least had to find out what was involved,’’ she said. “I knew nothing about this.’’

She learned a lot during a two-day visit to the hospital. And the medical personnel at Strong learned a lot about her.

“It’s pretty intense,’’ Jandreau said. “I met with the doctors and had a bunch of tests, EKG, MRI and of course, a liver test.’’

She also met with someone who kept asking her why she wanted to do this. In part, this was because Jandreau would be donating to a stranger; most liver donations are between family members.

Jandreau was the first anonymous donor for a living liver transplant done at Strong.

During the transplant with a living donor about 70 percent of the donor’s liver is removed and replaces the diseased organ in the recipient. The liver regenerates to become a complete organ in both.

Most liver donations are made by an organ donor who has died. About 14,000 people in the United States are on the…

The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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