MURRAY, Utah - A son gave his mother a life-changing gift before Mother’s Day.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that 63-year-old Gwen Finlayson has lived with autoimmune hepatitis for nearly 30 years. According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it’s a chronic disease in which the immune system causes inflammation and damage to the liver by attacking liver cells.
Finlayson, who lives in the Salt Lake City area, was told she would eventually need a liver transplant. When she went on the national transplant list in 2018, chances weren’t very high.
“They told us -- they were up front with us and said this is your only chance,” Finlayson told KTVX. “There is not a good chance of getting an organ off that list at your age and where you are health-wise.”
Brandon Finlayson, her 37-year-old son, volunteered to be a donor, but Gwen Finlayson wasn’t hearing it at first.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Brandon Finlayson told The Salt Lake Tribune. “She just didn’t want to talk about it. She’s never wanted to talk about being sick. We all knew it was the right thing to do. It just took her a long time to get on board.”
It took a few days before Gwen Finlayson took her son up on his offer, but she finally accepted. KTSU reported that when Gwen Finlayson learned her hospital was using 3D technology to practice the surgery, it helped her feel better about her decision.
The two are recovering well three months after the February surgery.
“I don’t know if I have the words to describe how I feel about my son,” Gwen Finlayson told KTVX. “I am grateful he is the kind of man who would do something like that. That he would risk his life for another human being -- didn’t have to be his mother. He would have done it for anybody. To me, that is the definition of a hero."
“I’m happy to tell you at this moment I do not have autoimmune hepatitis,” Gwen Finlayson told The Salt Lake Tribute. “I do not have liver disease that I had for 27 years.”
Now, the mother can focus on traveling with her husband and spending time with her four children and 12 grandchildren without letting thoughts of her sickness consume her. She’s also walking five miles a day, according to KTVX.
“I look toward the future with hope instead of how sick am I going to be then,” she said. “I look forward with joy and optimism and try to figure out what are we going to do next.”
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