In 1994 Betty Lingenfelter began experiencing health problems. She was retaining fluid and battling severe fatigue. After many tests, it was discovered she had contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion she received in 1981. The disease could be managed with a regimen of medications, but doctors projected she would need a liver transplant within five years.
In January 1997, Betty was placed on the national waiting list for a transplant. The time between being listed and her liver transplant truly tested Betty’s strength and desire to live. Her health continued to decline and she spent six of the first eight months of 1998 in and out of the hospital.
Finally, on August 4, 1998 she received her second chance at life. Though she never met her donor’s family, Betty knows it was an 18 year-old male who saved her. His gift of life gave Betty renewed hope. She was able to see her daughter marry and has welcomed four grandchildren into the world.
Betty sums it up best when she says, “Holding each grandchild for the first time; that’s the story of transplantation and life.”