This is true mother-daughter bonding. A nurse just became a living organ donor for her mom for the second time in two years. Their case is considered a first for medical science.
Nurse Jennifer Stasieluk Donated a Portion of Her Liver to Her Mother in 2021
Jennifer Stasieluk is only 29 years old, but she’s a hero on all accounts. She’s taken care of patients who have suffered from life-threatening cancer and COVID-19. And when she found out her mother, Marzena Stasieluk, needed a living organ donor, the daughter jumped at the opportunity.
Marzena actually needed a new kidney, but COVID created extra health problems. In order to get a kidney transplant, she first needed a new liver. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommended that Jennifer donate a portion of her liver.
Because livers can regenerate, Jennifer Stasieluk was able to give her mother a portion of hers. They underwent the live organ transplant in June of 2021. Jennifer gave her mom the larger lobe in of her liver and they spent 5 and 11 days recovering, respectively.
The next year, the plan was for Jennifer to give one of her kidneys to another patient in a “paired donation” process. Basically, kidneys get swapped around so everyone ends up with a compatible organ. But then doctors made an incredible discovery.
Marzena Stasieluk’s Daughter Became Her Living Organ Donor for the Second Time This Year
It turns out that Marzena’s immune system had adapted to her daughter’s liver, which made it possible to get a direct kidney transplant.
“We never in a million years thought that I would be a direct match,” Jennifer told CNN. “I was excited for it. I wasn’t nervous. I knew I was in good hands.”
Marzena Stasieluk was spending 3 days a week for 3 hours each day getting dialysis treatments. Now, she’s feeling healthy.
“Just knowing that there is something I can do that is not hopeless … just having that power that I can actually do something and help her and save her life, it was amazing,” said Jennifer.
And Marzena, who wanted to live so she could be with her children and grandchildren, got the best Christmas present ever.
“Today, I am grateful. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say enough, thank you,” Marzena said. “What do you say to a person that donated two organs, not just one?”
Dr. Timucin Taner of the Mayo Clinic has been studying the effects of liver transplants on subsequent heart transplants. He said that the Stasieluk family was the first case he knew about where a liver transplant allowed for a kidney transplant from the same living organ donor. Taner also said that they intend to write a case report based on these findings.
So in the long run, Jennifer Stasieluk’s generosity and love may save more lives than she ever expected.