TEXAS Billboard campaign pays off for man waiting to get liver
A family donated a liver late Thursday.
HOUSTON (AP) -- A man's efforts to get a healthy liver through a media campaign, including billboards and a Web site, have succeeded as he underwent successful transplant surgery early Friday with a donated organ.
Todd Krampitz, a 32-year-old newlywed, was diagnosed in May with liver cancer, and by July his doctors said only a transplant would save his life.
His family decided to mount a media campaign, including two billboards along one of Houston's busiest freeways, and a Web site that detailed his plight and raised awareness about organ donation. Krampitz and his wife, Julie, also did national media interviews after word of his efforts spread.
Earlier this week, Krampitz told The Associated Press he and his family "pray every night that they call us in the morning and say, 'Hey we have a liver here waiting for you. Come to the hospital and get it."'
Happened Thursday night
Late Thursday night a family donated their loved one's liver to Krampitz.
Officials at The Methodist Hospital said the surgery, which began late Thursday evening and concluded early Friday morning, was successful.
In a statement, Julie Krampitz said "a generous family" donated their loved one's liver to her husband, but she did not elaborate on the family. The statement noted that the organ was given specifically for Todd Krampitz.
"We are deeply grateful to this family, and would like to thank the countless people who called and e-mailed over the last week. We are very appreciative of the outpouring of kindness we have received from around the country," she said.
Julie Krampitz said she and her husband want to continue encouraging all individuals to discuss organ donation with their families.
"Organ donation truly is the gift of life," she said. "We are excited that our efforts to find a donor for Todd have served to increase public awareness of the tremendous need for organ donation nationwide."
The liver is the second most commonly transplanted major organ, after the kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which coordinates the nation's transplant system. As of July 30, there were 17,471 people nationwide waiting for a liver transplant. Last year, 5,671 liver transplants were performed in the country.
Officials with the United Network for Organ Sharing, and their affiliates, believe public pleas for directed donations, like what Todd Krampitz did, run the risk of bypassing the established allocation system and can create an uneven playing field for all individuals on the national waiting list for organs.