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Spring 1998
To Save Two Lives
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Angel Hernandez is confronting other hurdles. Compared to Andrew, his recovery has been long and frustratingly slow. Hernandez will be in the hospital perhaps two months. He, too, faces a lifetime of medications to prevent his body from rejecting the transplanted liver. But because of his long deterioration, he will also need extensive physical rehabilitation. Even so, says Ken Drazen, “There’s every expectation he could make a complete recovery.”

For all the members of the Hernandez and Gyswyt families, the split-liver transplant has been a life-altering event. “The liver was a beautiful gift,” says Jadonne Gyswyt, “but it is a gift we cannot take for granted. I have changed a great deal. I try not to make so many plans now. I think more about my children and fill myself with the little blessings they bring.”

Young Angel Hernandez thinks about the donor and his family, people who endured their own terrible tragedy and yet unselfishly gave to two other families they will never know.

“I feel strongly that Andrew now has a second birthday,” Jadonne concurs. “January 8th is his second birthday. Just like I gave birth to my children, the donor gave birth to a new child. I hope wherever the donor’s family may be, they find some comfort in the wonderful thing they’ve done. I’ve thought a lot about how difficult it would be to deal with losing someone close to you.

“How can I say, ‘Thank you?’ ”

Senior writer Mona Gable’s last feature for the magazine was the award-winning “Brenda’s Journey,” about a pregnant woman’s battle with HIV.

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