Transplant Patient Carries on a Legacy

It was just two years ago when Leonard Misner discovered something was wrong. He was in paramedic school and his instructor told him that he was looking yellow and should visit a doctor.

The news from Misner’s doctor was not optimistic. He was diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or “NASH,” causing progressive liver failure.

“I was told I pretty much had a death sentence unless I could get a liver transplant,” said Misner.

He was placed on the transplant list, but as sick as he was, it wasn’t enough to be at the top of the list. His best hope was for a living donor to come forward and give part of their liver to him directly.

“Because liver transplantation is a live-saving therapy, it is done on the sickest people," says David Bruno, M.D., Misner’s transplant surgeon at Henry Ford Hospital.

Misner didn’t waste any time reaching out to friends and family for a potential donor. His friends from the television show Hardcore Pawn even sent the word out to their Facebook followers to find a match.

Even with numerous offers from friends and strangers alike, Misner’s health continued to deteriorate and he was still unable to find a match.

“I was starting to think that a transplant may not happen. I promised my wife I’d never leave her and I didn’t want to break that promise.”

Nearly two years after being diagnosed with NASH, the stars aligned for Misner while he was out to dinner with his wife and friends one night. A friend who knew the family of a man struck by a car had him in mind.

“He told me that if he didn’t make it, the family was considering donating his organs.”

The friend passed along Misner’s information.

“Within 24 hours, I received a call from Henry Ford Hospital saying ‘get ready, you’re getting a transplant.”

Misner received a directed donation and feels better than he did two years ago. He has devoted his life to carrying the legacy of his donor and hopes to educate transplant patients about being proactive in their care.

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