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Facebook leads to organ donation after woman in Maryland hears from old classmate

Posted at 4:41 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 16:41:23-05

BALTIMORE, Md. - "I never thought that I would be on Facebook again, and going on Facebook is literally what changed my life."

It was a lifesaving change for Rachel Rockwell.

Her old classmate Kate Corzine would be her agent of change.

“After having this condition for 12 years and knowing that I eventually needed to look for a liver donor, the time had come.”

Rachel opened up on Facebook about her autoimmune disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. It was attacking her liver. She needed a transplant to survive.

She and Kate hadn't spoken in about 15 years.

Kate, a nurse, and mother of five did her research on live liver transplants answered Rachel's call for help.

"I approached my husband and said an old classmate of mine Rachel needs help and I think that this is something that we can do. I'd like to offer my help and after hearing a bit more he said, go for it."

There was an outpouring of support for Rachel on social media. More than 50 people responded, but Kate ended up being the perfect match.

They met for lunch two weeks prior to their Sept. 29 surgery date in the middle of a pandemic.

"It has been a challenging year for a lot of people and to have this hope that is shared and the joy that comes from it, it's pretty amazing.

"There's a lot of darkness and for people to see an opportunity for light and then see that happen so abundantly with Kate is very moving."

While Rachel's grateful for Kate, both women are grateful for the medical team at Johns Hopkins that made it happen.

Their surgeon, Dr. Andrew Cameron says the amazing story of Kate's willingness to share more than half of her liver with a former classmate.... is a testament to the importance of transplants.

Their road to recovery is smooth so far.....Kate's liver is regenerating....and Rachel is on the mend with her PSC thanks to her new organ.

“I'm on a lot of medication to keep the liver happy, Kate's liver happy, but a year from now it'll probably seem like my liver."

While the two shared sisterhood at Bryn Mawr graduating from the girls' school in 1997. Now they consider themselves liver sisters.

It's the piece of Kate that's giving Rachel a new lease on life. Kate has no regrets just advice.

“Whether you have a loved one or a friend or you come across a bumper sticker or a Facebook post and you say wow that’s someone who needs help I think I can give that help, I would encourage you to do it."

This story was first reported by Kelly Swoope at WMAR in Baltimore, Maryland.