Liver Recipient and Basketball Player Drives for Organ Donation

By Brian Dolan
Published on February 12, 2015

Liver Recipient and Basketball Player Drives for Organ Donation

10 Feb, 2015 – Brian Dolan

GENESEO – SUNY Geneseo is proud to announce that senior basketball player Lea Sobieraski has been named a member of the 2015 Allstate Good Works team, sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association of America (WBCA), for her public service as an advocate for organ and tissue donation, being a recipient of a new liver herself.


Lea Sobieraski. (Photo/

Sobieraski, who was born with a rare liver condition called Wilson’s disease, almost lost her life during her junior year when she went through an emergency liver transplant in March of 2013, after she visited the student health center thinking that she had indigestion and later received a phone call telling her to get to the emergency room immediately.

Sobieraski’ had severe cirrhosis resulting from complications from Wilson’s disease.

As a result of her experience with organ and tissue donation, Sobieraski is very involved with Upstate New York Transplant Services (UNYTS), one of the leading organ procurement organizations in the United States.

Since her successful transplant, she has returned to her former high school in Lockport, New York numerous times to speak about her experience and to get students and staff involved with blood and organ donation. She worked to coordinate a UNYTS-sponsored blood drive with Western New York high schools and the Buffalo Bills, and spoke about her experiences at a blood drive sponsored by the Buffalo Sabres, and was featured in a public service announcement for blood, organ, and tissue donation alongside retired Sabres player Danny Gare.

The Allstate Good Works Team recognizes an exemplary group of student-athletes who have demonstrated an especially strong commitment to community service. Sobieraski was selected from a group of 251 nominees and named to a 10-member team, five student-athletes from NCAA Division I and five from Division II, III, and NAIA.

After recovering from her operation, Sobieraski was able to rejoin the basketball team in the fall of 2014 and is currently averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game for the Knights. She holds a 3.06 GPA and is slated to graduate on time in May 2015.

Thanks to Howie Pohl for posting this story on our Transplant group.

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