Skip to Content

She donated part of her liver after her fiancé was rediagnosed with cancer: ‘It’s not something you expect’

<i>WTVR</i><br/>Georgia couple Christ Harris and Jessica Garrett know all too well the importance of organ donation after a sudden diagnosis landed them over 500 miles away at VCU Health’s Hume-Lee Transplant Center.
WTVR
Georgia couple Christ Harris and Jessica Garrett know all too well the importance of organ donation after a sudden diagnosis landed them over 500 miles away at VCU Health’s Hume-Lee Transplant Center.

By Maggi Marshall

Click here for updates on this story

    RICHMOND, Virginia (WTVR) — While February 14 is Valentine’s Day it is also known across the country as National Donor’s Day.

It’s a day that organizers designed to focus on spreading awareness of the importance of organ donations that help save lives.

Georgia couple Christ Harris and Jessica Garrett know all too well the importance of organ donation after a sudden diagnosis landed them over 500 miles away at VCU Health’s Hume-Lee Transplant Center.

The engaged couple who had been together nearly 10 years never expected to have an extended stay in Virginia.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all, to be honest,” said Harris.

In March 2023, 24-year-old Harris was re-diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer after being in remission for just several months.

The initial diagnosis caught the couple off guard since Harris was seemingly healthy but then later began to experience severe pain where he could barely move or talk.

Doctors told Harris his best chance of survival was finding a living donor for a liver.

Harris said his closest hospital in Georgia did not perform liver transplants, and he was referred to VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center.

The center is known for its ability to handle high-risk transplants and has a living donor program.

“It was about the most shocking thing we could hear,” said Garrett.

The couple recalled looking at the statistics that show people often die waiting on the transplant list.

Garrett said she knew at that moment there was only one option for her future husband – she would become his donor.

Doctors at VCU were determined that Garrett was a candidate to give part of her liver to her fiancé.

Livers regenerate themselves, meaning Garrett’s would grow back after she gave part of hers to Harris, according to doctors.

Fortunately, the couple said the transplant surgery was a success and they stayed in Richmond for four months after the June surgery so Harris could recover.

Garrett said her recovery was quick due to the surgery being done robotically, allowing for less scarring and bleeding.

Garrett says she recalled being in awe of her fiancé making it through the surgery and becoming cancer-free for a second time.

“We are pretty much one in the same person now. I would be dead without it for sure,” Harris said.

The couple is now home in Georgia settling back into life and planning their wedding. All because Garrett sacrificed for her true love by giving him the gift of life.

‘It’s crazy. It’s not something you expect this young in life,” Garrett said. “Later on there is ‘in sickness and in health’ but he was literally 24.”

The couple hopes their story will motivate others to consider becoming a living donor to save lives.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION

KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content