How an organ transplant saved my life


John and Laura Faherty and their children share their stories and the most intimate photos from this journey.

The following is an excerpt from the journal.

Read it here and/or watch the video: In sickness and in health

The promise of a life without diabetes and the fear of major complications came to a head when Enquirer reporter John Faherty got the call: A new pancreas was ready for him. His wife, Laura Trujillo, shows us how that call forever changed her family.

The Enquirer's John Faherty, front and center, is photographed with the team that was involved with the transplant of his pancreas at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Photo: The Enquirer/Gary Landers

On the morning of May 13, the day after Mother’s Day, my phone rings.

The voice on the line is calm. “We have a pancreas for you.”

I am at my desk in the newsroom. This transplant will change my life, save my life, change our kids’ lives. But all I can think about is her tone. This is not an imperative sentence. It is not exclamatory, either. It’s a simple declaration: “We have a pancreas for you.”

I go to tell Laura; she knows when she sees my face. We race home, pack a bag and write a note to the kids. They will see it when they get home from school.

At the hospital, I learn the pancreas is being flown in, but nobody will say from where. After 4 hours, I am wheeled into an elevator and down for surgery. This is happening.

The transplant was not without complications.

Laura opens her computer and reads emails and entries from friends on Facebook. People are thinking of me. People are sending their thoughts. And people are praying. I mean, really praying.Laura opens her computer and reads emails and entries from friends on Facebook. People are thinking of me. People are sending their thoughts. And people are praying. I mean, really praying.

One day John felt better, and hungry! The next day found him ready to take the bike for a ride.

I understand now the network of people who have helped me. Not just my family, but my neighbors, and my co-workers, my friends close and far. They have brought food and prayed and dropped by. They have called and emailed and driven our children to school.”

After the ride, I walk into the kitchen, out of breath and already limping. Theo is glad to see me. Henry smiles at me, and Luke asks if I need mom. Yes, I say, tell her I am back.

One month later, The Enquirer (John is a reporter for The Enquirer) arranges a photograph of me and all the people who helped to take care of me at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Dr. Diwan and Dr. Mogilishetty are here. Dr. Govil and Dr. Cuffey. Crazy Kathy, Sweet Jane, Brian Lewis, the woman who called me to tell me I got a pancreas. People whose names I never even knew. People who took care of me when I was so sick I could not remember how well they treated me, but I know they did. I take Lucy with me because I want her to know them. All of them.

I am going to stand in front of them and show them that I am healthy. They are going to see what they have done with their medicine and their compassion. I am going to tell them how they changed me and made me better. That I believe in my future and that I am not afraid any more.

I am going to thank them and I am not going to cry because I am strong. I want them to be proud of me. And then, before I can say a word, I start to cry.

I tried again and I stopped. They all looked at me. Dr. Diwan says I cannot blame this on the medicine any more. I try again. I want them to know that they have changed everything for me. But I cannot do it.

I turn, instead, and introduce them to Lucy.
Watch the video and read the story here.

Now for an update: “After the donation, after the surgery and after the recovery, I wrote a letter to the family through Donate Life Ohio. A week later, I got a response from Tari. Shortly after that we met. Then I was invited to a party on Easter Sunday where I got to meet the entire family. I met Alexis’ children, but I did not explain our connection. It didn’t seem right.

Lucy, my wife’s and my youngest, was able to play with Delilah. Our boys, Henry, Theo and Luke, were able to meet Alexis’ boys as well.

At the end of the party, when it was time to go, Tari told me that she knew Alexis would be happy she was able to help me. I believed her. Then Bob said he was glad that a part of his daughter was alive in me and others.

He told me we were family. I told him I was honored.

Enroll in your state’s organ donor registry to help saves lives some day.

At this time in New York State, the only truly online procedure involves this DMV link- to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry

In other states: Enroll in your state’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry