Man wins fight for liver transplant

By Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:59:38 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 26 2013 06:14:51 AM EST

A man in need of a liver transplant is getting the ultimate Christmas wish - the gift of life!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

After two past attempts at finding a donor, Ben Chatraw was finally donated a compatible liver.

"I received a call on Dec. 9 that someone we don't know - a family that we don't know, had designated a liver to me," said Chatraw. 

It was the answer Chatraw, his wife and children had been anxiously awaiting. Chatraw was in and out of hospitals for months, and the family even created a website for support. 

But once they received the phone call, Chatraw was at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville within 24 hours undergoing the transplant. 

"The decision of that family has enabled me to have life," said Chatraw. "We have very few times where we're able to give life to others. I have been given life. And with that comes a lot of responsibility."

The Chatraws say they will now inspire others to sign up as donors. In some instances, a donor can save up to eight lives.

"We hope that people will consider it, and think about it, and understand it better," said Stephanie Chatraw, Ben Chatraw's wife. "Look into and see us, and know that this is the difference that it can make."

Now that he's recovering, he feels much better than before he underwent the surgery. He has much more energy to keep up with his children, and he no longer feels sick. 

There's no telling how long the recovery process might take. It could be a few weeks or even months. Either way, the family said they'll be together throughout the entire process.

"I'm thrilled to have life," said Chatraw. "Thrilled to have an opportunity to live - thrilled to have the opportunity to be with our family and be well, and I just coudn't be happier that it's at Christmas."


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