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The Gift of a Lifetime

One man from Cambria County received the gift of a lifetime when his friend gave him part of his liver to stay alive.

His name is Jim Platzer. He’s the ultimate Star Wars fan, and even a member of Starkiller GarrisonĀ  which is part of the 501st LegionĀ  a Star Wars costuming group.

That’s on top of being a husband and father, so health problems were never on his mind until recently.

“Back in college, I was warned there was some liver enzyme issues. But I was 20 something, what did I care,” Jim said.

He never imagined that in 2020 it would become liver cancer, and that he’d need to get a transplant.

His wife, Gina, made a Facebook Post to find a liver donor with Type O blood.

“It just so happened that his blood type is the same as my blood type.”

That’s what Jim’s friend (and fellow Starkiller Garrison trooper) Matt Schraeder said, before secretly testing to see if he could be a match for Jim.

The doctors decided that he was a match, so he texted Jim the good news.

“He goes, ‘I’ve been approved.’ We were like, ‘Really?’ Jim said.

“I mean, we were shocked. I remember Gina running down the stairs and couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t believe it,” he continued.

The surgery was set for June 28th at Allegheny Health Network, making history as the hospital’s first living donor liver transplant.

Dr. Ngoc Thai, the System Director for AHN Center for Abdominal Transplantation, said they took out over 60% of Matt’s liver and placed it into Jim.

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