Running For Something
Written by Alec Rampton – Liver Transplant Patient April 28, 2009
One year to the date after being admitted to the Intermountain Medical Center for a potential Liver Transplant, I was able to compete in and finish the Salt Lake City Marathon. Despite being severely ill on April 17, 2009, the liver went to another person who was also in desperate need. I cried with my wife Megan following the news that I wouldn’t receive the liver, but our tears were not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy because we knew that another’s life would be saved through the beautiful process of organ donation. We also knew that my chance to receive a transplant would come, and come soon. And it did as the call from my transplant coordinator came in the early hours of April 28, 2009, and after 9 and a half hours of surgery, I received a second chance at life.
We have always been physically active, so being hindered from sports and the outdoors with a liver disease was extremely difficult and frustrating. Getting back into physical activity has been such a blessing and a gift for me. Following the transplant, Megan and I started attacking life together by cycling, golfing, skiing, hiking, and walking our overly energetic dog Bode. I felt better every day following surgery, and thoughts of pursuing a long-time goal of mine to run a marathon were brewing. I made the decision to run the Salt Lake Marathon around Thanksgiving of 2009. I began training right after Christmas. As I ran almost every day, I felt so empowered by all of the people that had supported me during my illness through recovery stages, especially by my donor who remains anonymous to me. I have never felt so happy as when I have been running with a goal and a purpose in mind.
On the day of the marathon, I ran the first five miles with Megan as she was running the Half Marathon. We kept looking at each other with big smiles, amazed at all of the people around us – all of whom were also running for one good reason or another. We couldn’t help but get emotional as we realized where we had been just one year previously. The marathon was difficult, but I felt pushed along by all of the supporters lining the course, and all the supporters who had helped me through so much. As I turned towards the finish line, I was joined by Megan, but then left her as I sprinted towards the finish. The marathon capped an incredible journey Megan and I had taken, and it was all made possible by my donor. While I don’t know who my donor was, I am and will be forever grateful to them for what they have given me. I hope that everyone knows what a precious gift life is, and while losing a loved one can be too difficult for words to describe, saving another is a gift unlike any other.
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