She donated her liver to her brother-in-law. It changed both their lives.

Posted at 3:16 PM, Aug 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-16 16:13:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Heather Walsh loves to run, but that was not always the case.

Walsh was introduced to running by her brother-in-law Tom, a man whose life she helped save.

In 2014, Tom needed a new liver to live but found himself on a 10-year waiting list.

"When it came time, they were looking for anybody who was willing to go get checked to see if they were a match," Walsh said. "I remember saying to him, 'I’ll go get checked. But I truly know in my heart, that it’s going to be me.' We’re not blood-related.”

Elizabeth Living Donor

Walsh turned out to be a perfect match. She donated 60 percent of her liver to her brother-in-law.

"Once we got through all that, we spent time together in the hospital. Once he was good, we’d walk around the hallway with our poles with our IVs," she said.

Elizabeth Living Donor

She said the surgery helped to kick start a new way of thinking for both her and her family.

"Somebody’s got another chance at life. You gave somebody life, kind of like you would a child. It’s like he has a whole new life. He gets to start over," she said.

After they recovered, Tom encouraged Heather to run marathons.

"Once it all came back, it was like, I just want to do big things," she said.

Elizabeth Living Donor

That includes running 100K and 100-mile races, measuring her gratitude with each step.

"I would do it again for him. Absolutely," she said.

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