And hey, thanks for the liver! |

And hey, thanks for the liver!

Cory Fisher

Nivia Bryant is finding it hard to express the magnitude of her appreciation. She knows her gift of gratitude will never equal what she was given – life.

Last February, when the 33-year-old George Whittell High School teacher was diagnosed with liver cancer, she suddenly found her life dependent upon a person she’ll never know.

What Bryant calls “the gift of life” came in the form of a 50-year-old man who died suddenly of an aneurysm. His donor card, along with the consent of his family, allowed for Bryant to receive his liver only hours later.

That was nine months ago, and now Bryant is ready to contact the Bay Area family who made her current good health possible.

“I might not be here if not for them,” Bryant said. “I haven’t talked to the family yet – all the son knows is that his father’s liver went to a woman in South Lake Tahoe. I want him to know that his father’s death was not in vain.”

Bryant struggled to come up with something that would express her gratitude, finally deciding on a beautifully crafted wall quilt.

“I was trying to think of a way to say thank-you besides a letter – something personal and tangible that represents my thankfulness,” she said. “I wanted it to be something made with my hands, a labor of love – I thought Thanksgiving would be a good time to send it.”

Bryant’s personal experiences have spurred her to encourage people to fill out donor cards, and to alert their next of kin – who are also required to give consent at the time of death.

“If people really want to make a difference, allowing someone else’s life to continue is the biggest difference you can make,” Bryant said. “Organ failure can happen to anyone – be it accidents or poor health. The average person waits more than a year for an organ transplant.”

Bryant hopes her quilt will hang prominently in the home of the family she would like to meet soon. She said she hopes it will serve as a reminder that out of grief and tragedy in one family sprang gratitude and joy in another.

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