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Liver transplant between friends saves a life

Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize caught up with two men who share more than friendship.

DANVILLE, Pa. — In October, we told you about some friends from the Danville area who were preparing for transplant surgery. One man was donating part of his liver to the other.

The surgery was successful, and the men are now promoting living organ donation.

Brian Witmer and Dan Gable have shared a lot of laughs and stories throughout their 20-year friendship. But now they share something else — part of Dan's liver.

"He saved my life," Brian said. "People call people heroes, but Dan is a true hero to me."

About two years ago, Brian found out he would need a liver transplant. When we caught up with him in October, the former fire chief was getting sicker and sicker, and Dan stepped in to help.

"I did it just solely to save his life. He didn't deserve what he got, and I wanted to put my best foot forward to help out a friend," Dan said.

The surgery was on October 31 at UPMC in Pittsburgh.

"He went his way; I went my way, and they did the transplant. Everything turned out pretty good," Brian said.

Brian was in the hospital for about three weeks. He says it was a tough recovery, but now he feels ten years younger.

"I feel fantastic. I mean, it's such a difference. I didn't realize how sick I was because I lived with it every day compared to how I feel now."

Dan says his liver has already regrown back to its original size.

"It was a short-term sacrifice for a long-term benefit. Look at me now; I feel great, and it was well worth it," Dan said.

The two friends have become strong advocates for living donor transplants.

"It was a hard road to go through, but it was a great success, and I'm alive today because of the living donor program," Brian said.

"There's other options out there than just sitting back and watching a loved one and hope that a loved one gets through it. If you have the option to do this, do so," Dan added.

Brian and Dan say they are grateful for all the community support they received over the last few months.

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