NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Father’s Day is extra special for a New York family that’s celebrating together after a daughter gave her dad a very unusual gift.
What do most dads get on Father’s Day? Another tie, golf balls, maybe a coffee mug? This daughter gave her father a life-saving gift – part of her own liver, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports.
“I’m just really glad that I have him here still,” Marielle Frey says.
The Frey family has a lot to celebrate this weekend. Last Father’s Day, Marielle’s dad, Steven, was in liver failure and needed a transplant.
“I was going to eventually die. They just didn’t know how long I had,” he says.
Steven was on a transplant waiting list, but doctors said the chances of getting a liver were slim. So Marielle got tested to see if she could give him a piece of her liver, and she was a match.
“If this is something I could help with, 100 percent I’m there. I will do whatever I need to do,” she says.
Like any father, Steven was more concerned about his daughter.
“I wasn’t really afraid for myself, I was always afraid for her. From the minute we went into the OR to the minute I woke up,” he says.
Dr. Sandy Florman and a team at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York performed the complicated, hours-long surgeries.
“Living donation is a really important aspect of what we do, because we’re trying to save people’s lives, and there simply aren’t enough organs from deceased donors to go around,” he says.
It’s been almost a year since the transplant, and everyone is doing great. Now they both wear special necklaces to honor their unique bond.
“Well, I wanted something to – for us to share together,” Steven says. “Mine says ‘hero’s dad,’ and hers says ‘my hero.’”
Theirs is a father and daughter bond that cannot be broken.
“I’ll always have a part of her with me at all times now,” Steven says.
A living liver donation is possible because a healthy person usually has some excess liver capacity, but also because the liver is one of the few organs that can actually regenerate, Dr. Max reports. Within six weeks or so, about 90 percent of it grows back.