Sharon Kearns

Sharon Kearns

Liver Recipient 

“This is me 14 years later: a happy, walking miracle,” said Sharon Kearns, Liver recipient. I’m grateful to be alive solely because of the life-saving gift from a stranger. My donor hero gave me the most precious gift one can give…LIFE! 

In early 2007, I started getting jaundiced due to a slowly progressive disease of the bile ducts of the liver. Massive nosebleeds, bleeding gums, loss of weight and muscle mass: symptoms of end-stage liver disease. In October, my self-advocacy led me to see experts at MUSC. Four days after burying my mother, who had her life taken away by lung cancer, I was added to the list.  

Because I was so sick, my time on the list didn’t last long and I tried looking at the bright side of things. While having trouble sleeping one night, I used my hands as shadow puppets on my bedroom ceiling, singing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” I sang, “Hear me roar. I am invincible.” Even though I let out these positive lyrics, I was scared, knowing the only thing that could save me was a liver transplant.  

I got “the call” from MUSC and my emotions were all over the place. Something stood out to me at the hospital waiting for surgery. I watched sliding doors open to what I call “the elevator of life.” Faces of hope were wheeled into that elevator, and finally, on March 8, 2008, I, too, was one of those hopeful faces being wheeled away.  

Miraculously and almost immediately after surgery, my body started healing itself. I was no longer freezing, my yellow eyes started clearing and I was able to walk down the long hospital hallway to “ring the bell.” The ringing signifies hope and victory at the end of a long road. I cried for so much loss: for me, my mom, my donor hero and my donor hero’s family.  

Words cannot express the exhilaration I felt, realizing I was given the gift of a second chance…a chance to see my son get married and father two sons of his own. This second chance allowed me to see my daughter graduate and become an ER travel nurse.